herald

Sunday 25 June 2017

Man (25) accused of sexual exploitation of three young girls

Mathew Horan has been charged with 44 offences
Mathew Horan has been charged with 44 offences

A Dublin man has been sent for trial accused of sexually exploiting girls as young as nine after contacting them on social media.

Mathew Horan (25) is charged over his alleged contact with three girls aged between nine and 12. He is also accused of producing and distributing child pornography involving thousands of movies and images, including animation clips.

Mr Horan had a book of evidence served on him when he appeared at Blanchardstown District Court. He was returned for trial to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Mr Horan, of St John's Crescent, Clondalkin, is charged with a total of 44 offences on dates in 2014 and 2015.

Judge David McHugh gave Mr Horan a formal warning that he must submit details of any alibis he intends to rely on to the prosecution within 14 days. He granted free legal aid.

The judge said he was doing this after "scanning the charge sheets" and noting they were of a "very serious nature".

Judge McHugh remanded Mr Moran on bail under existing terms. The accused did not address the court during the brief hearing. He has not yet indicated how he intends to plead to the charges.

Computer

Previously, Garda David Connolly said Mr Horan replied "no" when the 44 charges were put to him.

The charges include 27 counts of distribution of child pornography, eight counts of sexual exploitation of a child, six of possession of child pornography, one of producing it and one of encouraging its production.

The offences carry prison sentences of up to 14 years on conviction.

Gda Connolly said the accused's home was searched and a computer, external hard drive and mobile phones were seized. Mr Horan accepted ownership of them, the garda said.

Gardai allegedly found thousands of child pornography images and movies, as well as computer-generated animations and images of children.

The three alleged victims were interviewed by specialist gardai. One girl was allegedly contacted in July 2015 and the other two in November 2014.

A State solicitor said these children were of a "very young age and very vulnerable".

When his home was searched, the accused admitted he had accessed child pornography on the internet, said Gda Connolly.

The court heard the accused was living at home with his parents.

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