Brion Hoban & Fiona Ferguson
An Offaly man who sexually abused a teenage girl he met on social media and drove to his home has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Ciaran McIntyre (24) denied ever meeting the girl when questioned by gardaí, despite his DNA being found on clothing she had been wearing on the night.
The Central Criminal Court heard that McIntyre and the victim had never met before the night of the offence.
McIntyre of Rhode, Edenderry, Co Offaly, pleaded guilty to defilement of a child under the age of 15 at his address on February 23rd, 2017.
A local detective garda told Eilis Brennan SC, prosecuting, that McIntyre had been in contact with the victim on Snapchat for two days prior to inviting her to a party on the date in question.
The detective said the victim had been “grounded” by her mother, so McIntyre said he would pick her up in his car from the back of her house. She told McIntyre she did not wish to go to the party, and he said they would go for a drive instead.
McIntyre drove the victim to a shopping centre car-park where he asked her to perform oral sex on him, but she refused. He then drove her to the caravan where he was living. It was here that the sexual assault took place.
McIntyre dropped her back to her town following the incident, but instead of returning home the girl spent the night with a friend in an abandoned house. When she returned home the next day it transpired that gardaí had been called by her mother due to her missing from her home and she made a complaint to gardaí at that stage.
In interview with gardaí McIntyre denied ever meeting the girl but accepted they had been in contact on Snapchat. He continued to deny meeting her after his DNA was found on the t-shirt the girl had been wearing on the night.
The detective agreed with Paul Greene SC, defending, that there was no suggestion that the victim had been under some “class of imprisonment” and that she went voluntarily. He agreed there was no physical violence during the sexual offence.
He agreed with counsel that his client was released on bail due to his mother being diagnosed with lung cancer. He agreed McIntyre is providing care and assistance for his mother alongside his sister.
Mr Greene asked the court to take into account his client’s guilty plea which meant a child did not have to give evidence during a trial and gardai did not have to assemble evidence which may have been challenged.
He noted a reference from an employer who speaks of having trust in the accused man.
Letter of apology
Counsel said his client had written a letter of apology. He submitted that McIntyre had demonstrated a level of remorse and was otherwise a decent man with a clean record. He said his client's mother speaks of his assistance to her as a carer.
Justice Michael White said that although McIntyre has pleaded guilty, a report before the court shows he does not have much insight into his offending. He said McIntyre set out to “sexually exploit” a very young teenager.
Justice White said the offence was aggravated by the nature of the offence, the age of the victim and the age gap between them, his outright denials of the offence even when faced with strong evidence and the exploitative nature of the offence.
He said the mitigating factors were the guilty plea, the accused's relative youth at the time of the offence, his previous good character and his letter of remorse.
Justice White sentenced McIntyre to two-and-a-half years imprisonment and order that he undergo 18 months of post release supervision.