A man who had sex with a 15-year-old girl he met after chatting with her online using a fake social media profile will be sentenced early next year.
Conor O’Keefe (26) set up a profile as a teenage girl called ‘Julie’ on the websiteTagged.com and started chatting with the young victim.
O’Keefe later claimed that he was Julie’s older brother ‘Adam’ and persuaded the girl to get a taxi to his house, where they had sex.
O’Keefe, of Oakdale Close, Ballycullen, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sex with a child in July 2011.
He was found guilty of a further count of sexual exploitation of a child by a jury last month following a three-day trial.
The court heard yesterday that O’Keefe’s partner had given birth to their first child on Sunday this week.
O’Keefe, an apprentice plumber, has no previous convictions and is now on the sex offenders register.
He was aged 22 at the time of the offences.
Defence counsel Damien Colgan SC asked the court to consider non-custodial options.
Judge Sarah Berkeley adjourned sentencing until January 12.
O’Keefe faces a maximum possible sentence of 14 years imprisonment on these charges.
During the trial, the court heard Tagged.com was a social media site that allowed children to set up profiles – but featured a security feature which made them invisible to adult users.
O’Keefe admitted to gardaí that he set up a profile called ‘Julie’ so he could view the under-18s version of that site.
Garda Lisa Duffy told Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, that ‘Julie’ added the girl as a friend in July 2011 and later Julie’s 22-year-old brother called ‘Adam’ messaged the girl using her account.
Early on the morning of July 30, 2011, “Adam” asked her if they could meet up. Initially she said no but she later took a taxi – with ‘Adam’ giving directions on the phone and paying the taxi driver €45.
They went to O’Keefe’s bedroom and talked. She said he was “bugging” her about performing oral sex on him but she refused. She later agreed to have sex. O’Keefe stopped having sex with her after asking if it was hurting her.
He then fell asleep and drove the teenager home the next morning.
Gda Duffy said the girl later spoke to a relative and gardaí were alerted.
The girl gave a description of where O’Keefe lived and he was arrested.
O’Keefe accepted he was the person involved and was fully co-operative, answering all questions.
Mr Colgan submitted this was a “once-off” event. He said O’Keefe had found he could not interact with his peers and found himself depressed and isolated, leading to him creating the false profile.
He said it was of significance that nothing of a sexual or exploitative nature was spoken between the parties prior to them meeting.
He said O’Keefe was continuing to engage with a psychologist
Ms Murphy handed in a victim impact statement prepared by the girl into court. The girl did not wish to give evidence and the report was not read in open court.
During the trial, all of the factual evidence was agreed between the prosecution and defence and the sole issue for the jury was if O’Keefe intended having sex with the girl when he communicated with her.
Mr Colgan noted that the trial had been unusual in that the details had been given by Gda Duffy and the injured party had not been required to give evidence.
O’Keefe did not give evidence during the trial either.
The Sexual Offences Amendment Act 2007 states that a person is guilty of an offence if they communicate with a child on two or more occasions with the intention of meeting them for sexual exploitation.