A man who was 21 when he had sex with a 16-year-old boy he met on Tinder has been jailed for one year.
Shane Chubb, now aged 24, pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 17 between April 13 and April 15, 2017. Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the boy was a virgin.
Chubb also pleaded guilty to one count of assaulting the boy on April 15, 2017 at Chubb’s home at Cookstown Road, Tallaght. He has no previous convictions.
Sergeant Gary Farrell told the court that the victim, who is legally entitled to anonymity, joined the Tinder dating app in 2016 before being removed because he was under the age of 18.
In 2017, he re-joined the app with a fake date of birth and got chatting to Chubb online. The boy told Chubb he was only 16, but that he was “mature”.
The pair kept in contact and made arrangements to meet in Chubb's home for tea, before the boy suggested that he stay the night.
During this visit, the pair “ended up having sex”, Sgt Farrell told the court, with the boy later telling gardaí: “He took my virginity”.
The pair met the next day in Chubb's house where they discussed what had happened, with the boy telling Chubb this was his first experience of sex. Later on, Chubb started kissing the boy and then started biting him, including on his chest, arms and thighs.
The boy eventually screamed out in pain at one of the bites, asking Chubb: “Why did you do that?” He left shortly afterwards.
The boy texted Chubb later that night saying: “You really hurt me and scared me a bit.” The boy said he no longer wanted to keep in touch.
Chubb replied saying “I hurt and scared you?” He added: “I hope you know I never intended to hurt or scare you.” He apologised for biting the boy.
The boy confided in his sister about the incident and went to gardaí a couple of days later. He was not in court for the sentence hearing and did not wish to make a victim impact statement, the court heard.
Judge Karen O'Connor said that the levels of dysfunction in the background of the defendant but said she had to mark the seriousness of the offence.
“He took advantage of a child, he was fully aware (of the victim's age). He is a highly intelligent man who knew what he was doing was wrong,” she said.
Judge O'Connor said that an “important message” had to go out that “if someone meets someone online and is aware the person is a child there will be consequences”.
Noting his “tragic background” as his guilty plea as mitigation, she suspended the second year of a two year prison term. She imposed conditions that Chubb stop using Tinder during the entire term and engage with the Probation Services.
The offence comes with a maximum sentence of five years.
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