Four men have been sentenced today (Friday, December 9), at Portlaoise Circuit Court in separate cases of sexual offences.
A 36-year-old Laois man has been sentenced to two years in prison, with the last nine months suspended with conditions, for sending explicit messages to a 13-year-old boy.
The man traded messages with the boy on both Facebook and Grindr, a gay dating website, in 2015. The court heard that the injured party had his own profile on Grindr, even though the site is meant to be for over-18s only.
Judge Keenan Johnson said: “The fact that (the boy) could have such easy access to such an adult site, has to raise serious questions about the ability of society to protect children from sexual exploitation on the internet.”
In a separate case, a 30-year-old Laois man has been sentenced to two and half years in prison for sexually abusing his niece over a four-year period.
The injured party was aged between five and nine at the time, with the abuse taking place at locations in Laois between 2002 and 2006. The girl was four years old when the offending started, and the accused was 14.
The man pleaded not guilty at the circuit court in July, and was found guilty on six counts of sexual assault by the jury after trial.
Judge Johnson said that the victim deserved enormous credit for having the strength and resilience to see the matter through. He said the abuse involved a serious breach of trust on the part of the accused.
In an unrelated matter, a 55-year-old Laois man has been given a three-year sentence, suspended for five years, for the sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl in 2014.
On a number of occasions the accused, who was 53 at the time, kissed and hugged the girl, which led to an incident in which he lifted her t-shirt and began to kiss her breasts, and also placed his hand in her underwear to caress her bottom and fondle her vaginal area. He also opened her clothing and kissed her pubic area.
One of the conditions of the suspended sentence is that the accused must pay the injured party a total of €10,000.
And a 56-year-old Offaly man has been sentenced to one and a half years in prison, with the last nine months suspended with conditions, for the indecent assault of a boy aged eight or nine.
The assault happened in Offaly on a date believed to be in 1983 or 1984, when the accused was aged 18 or 19.