Saturday 24 March 2018

Six years for pervert who groomed girl (13) over Skype and Facebook

'The girl's mother contacted gardai after finding concerning messages on her laptop' (stock photo)
'The girl's mother contacted gardai after finding concerning messages on her laptop' (stock photo)

A Dublin man has been jailed for six-and-a-half years for sexually exploiting a 13-year-old girl online and defiling her.

Darragh Meehan (25) was 19 when he met his victim and they later began communicating via Skype and Facebook and texting regularly.

He exposed himself and masturbated during Skype sessions and invited the girl to do the same.

During a meeting in person Meehan asked the girl to masturbate him and performed sexual acts on her.

The girl's mother contacted gardai after finding concerning messages on her laptop.

Meehan, of Dargle Wood, Knocklyon, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one count of defilement and three counts of sexual exploitation between December 2011 and May 2012. He has no previous convictions.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said Meehan had groomed the victim, whom he described as "a child in the full sense".


He noted that she didn't resist when Meehan made her perform oral sex on him but said she had not given "true consent".

"She was induced to submit because of the manipulation and grooming that had taken place," the judge said.

He added that the victim had been having difficulties at the time dealing with the psychological and physical changes of adolescence.

The judge accepted evidence that Meehan was unlikely to re-offend and said he believed he could be rehabilitated to become a "useful member of society".

The now 19-year-old woman said Meehan quickly became someone she confided in and he made her feel special.

"I feel he used my vulnerability to his advantage to get what he wanted," she said.

She said afterwards she was angry and upset at what had happened and just wanted to forget about it.

The woman said people told her at the time that it was not her fault but she could not see it.

"It was something that happened to me, not something I made happen," she said.

She described going through a "whirlwind of emotion" and becoming protective of younger people around her, as well as distrustful of new people.

Sean Gillane SC, defending, said Meehan had written a letter of apology to the victim.

He accepted what he did was wrong and was "wholeheartedly sorry" for what he did and the abuse of her trust.

Mr Gillane said Meehan had lived a law-abiding life in the six years since the offences. He also handed in testimonials and a reference.

Garda Sharon Duncan told the court that Meehan and the girl met in December 2011 and they started communicating regularly online. The girl told Meehan she was 13.


He began asking her to take her clothes off on Skype. In late December 2011 Meehan exposed himself and invited the girl to digitally penetrate herself.

On a number of further occasions Meehan exposed himself and masturbated on camera.

In some Skype sessions he also invited the girl to masturbate herself and insert an object into her vagina.

In March 2012 the pair arranged to meet in a park.

They began to kiss and Meehan asked the girl to masturbate him.

There was further kissing afterwards before Meehan put his hand into her clothes and digitally penetrated her, which she found quite sore. She asked him to stop and he did.

They kissed again and he asked her for oral sex. She initially declined but Meehan persisted and she placed her mouth on his penis before immediately stopping.

Later in 2012 the girl's mother noticed concerning messages on her laptop and gardai were alerted.

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