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Former Defence Forces member who recorded young girl exposing herself jailed

The girl was aged between 11 and 13 years old at the time of the offence.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

A FORMER MEMBER of the Defence Forces who recorded video footage of a young girl exposing herself during online contact has been given a six-year sentence with the final two years suspended.

David McCarton (38) was identified as a person of interest and the video images were recovered during a garda search following a police investigation in a different jurisdiction. The injured party, who cannot be identified, was aged between 11 and 13 years old at the time of the offence.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the young victim had believed she was communicating with a 14-year-girl. Gardaí also recovered images and movie files of child sexual abuse when searching McCarton’s home, for which he took full responsibility.

McCarton, of Knockmore Avenue, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty to possession of child sexual abuse images in May 2013 and sexual exploitation of a child on a date between December 2010 and May 2013. He has no previous convictions and has been in custody since last May.

McCarton also pleaded guilty to theft of a magazine clip and rounds of ammunition on a date between January 2012 and May 2013.

McCarton told gardaí that these were blank rounds he had forgotten to give back. He was a serving member of the defence forces at the time but has since been medically discharged from the army.

His lawyers told the court McCarton has been suffering from the effects of an anti-malaria drug, Lariam, given to him in the course of his service during which he served two tours of Chad.

Judge Patricia Ryan had adjourned the case to allow a probation report be prepared after originally hearing evidence in the case last May. She noted she also had the benefit of a psychological report and testimonials on McCarton’s behalf.

Today, she noted in relation to the child sexual abuse images charge that the aggravating circumstances included the nature of the images, the effects on the children involved and that it had occurred over a period of time.

In mitigation she took into account that he had pleaded guilty, had accepted responsibility during the search of his home and had not come to any further garda attention since these offences. She noted his remorse, personal circumstances and his apparent insight into his offending behaviour.

Judge Ryan also noted the serious detrimental effect of the sexual exploitation offence on the young victim with whom McCarton had communicated online. She took into account his previous good record, his co-operation and that he was at moderate risk of re-offending.

She imposed a total of six years’ imprisonment with the final two years suspended on strict conditions including probation supervision, addressing his risk factors for re-offending and taking part in a sex offenders treatment programme. She backdated the sentence to when he went into custody.

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Fiona Ferguson

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