A 16 year old boy who lured a six year old child away from his home in a city housing estate and sexually assaulted him claimed in court that he had been adversely affected by the social media site Bebo and could not get the images and the “dirty stuff” he saw there out of his mind.
While he pleaded guilty to the assault his presence on Bebo was used as a mitigating factor by his defence team.
He claimed through his barrister that he had tried unsuccessfully to remove himself from the site but had been unable to close his account (this was five years ago). He told gardai that it had ruined his life and Kilkenny Circuit Court Judge, Alice Doyle was told the man, who is now aged 21 had spent a disproportionate amount of time on Bebo. He is no longer on the site, the court heard.
The man who has a mild intellectual disability, received a suspended sentence and will be sent to a clinic for rehabilitation within 10 days or as soon as there is a place for him at the facility.
The victim is now in care and the judge was told the assault had been a minor reason for his being removed from his parents.
Judge Doyle said that the defendant should go to the rehabilitation centre as soon as possible and should start to socialise with people his own age in an appropriate manner.