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Man jailed for hidden camera filming of girls staying in his home

He received a six-year sentence with three years suspended.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A 30-YEAR-old Cork man who installed hidden cameras in his home to film teenage students from overseas who were staying there has been jailed for six years with the last three years suspended.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the victims, also filmed two children who were urinating in bathrooms in shopping centres. Overall the case involved 13 victims with the offences occurring on dates between 2011 and 2016.

Detective Sergeant Simon Grace said that that in 2016 gardai in Ireland were contacted by the FBI in the States who were investigating cases of child sexual abuse. The defendant’s voyeuristic filming of girls who were staying in his home had come to their attention after the images were posted on the dark web.

On the 4 July 2016, gardaí arrested the man who admitted to producing voyeuristic videos of teenagers who were staying in his home whilst they undertook courses in Ireland. The girls were primarily in the 13 to 16 age group. He also admitted to downloading explicit child abuse images from the dark web.

The man subsequently pleaded guilty to 13 counts of production and distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child abuse imagery.

Detective Sergeant Grace said that the man uploaded some of the videos on to the web mainly to voyeur forums. On one occasion he filmed an underage boy masturbating without the knowledge of the youth.

Six victim impact statements were submitted to the court. One teenage girl appeared by video link from France.
She told Judge Sean O’Donnabhain that she was shocked by what had occurred whilst she was in Ireland studying. She was stunned when police in France made her aware that she had been filmed in a state of undress without her consent whilst staying with an Irish family on a study placement.

The court heard that the 30-year-old man was without previous convictions. He lost his job when an anonymous call was made to his employer about the offences. The man has a level six qualification and has been working for all of his adult life to date.

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Elizabeth O’Connell, SC, representing the defendant said that her client was fully cooperative with gardai and remorseful for his actions. She said the man hadn’t come to the attention of gardai since his arrest in connection with the offences.

Judge O’Donnabhain said that the probation report suggested a high risk of reoffending. He stated that it was shocking to think that the videos were not only filmed but distributed on the dark web.

He was also cognisant of the fact that the man was charged with possession of explicit images of child abuse.He noted the benefit of the guilty plea in the case acknowledging that it saved the State a complex and intricate investigation and trial process.

He said that the man had invaded the privacy of the persons involved and that the filming of young students in states of undress represented a massive breach of trust. He jailed the man for six years suspending three years of the sentence.

About the author:

Olivia Kelleher

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