A man has been jailed for six months, with the final three months suspended for sending offensive texts to teenage girls in Offaly.
Judge Catherine Staines refused to suspend the entire sentence she imposed on the 43 year old who sent 140 texts to a 13 and 14 year old over ten days in October and November of last year.
Investigating Garda Sgt Graham Kavanagh previously told Tullamore District Court that the texts were unwanted and were ‘sexual and obscene in nature’.
There had been a suggestion that the man meet with the girls but this hadn’t happened and wasn’t pushed by either party, the Sergeant said.
The man, who has five previous convictions for lewd behaviour and for making inappropriate calls, is related to one of the girls. The other is her friend. Their parents were in court.
The case had been adjourned for a number of weeks to allow Solicitor John Hughes gather medical reports on his client.
Mr Hughes said those reports were positive and showed his client, who is not being named to protect his victims’ identity, has identified his difficulties and is addressing them. He has shown remorse and pleaded guilty at the earliest possible opportunity.
The psychiatrist had noted there was no deliberate preparation in the lead up to the offences, which were ‘impulsive and compulsive.’
He fully understood how wrong and inappropriate his behaviour was and the damage and hurt it had caused.
He is extremely fearful of prison, Mr Hughes said, adding that in his recovery he had the support of his wife who was outside the courtroom because she was too upset to come inside.
He offered €2,000 to each girl as a token compensation despite being unemployed since he was made redundant.
Judge Staines noted that the psychiatric report indicated that his long term prognosis is linked to his ability to resist his impulses. She said he’d been unsuccessful in this.
He had treatment since his 2008 offences but he’d since sent texts to girls in their early teens and she said one could only imagine how upsetting it had been for them.
She sentenced him to three months imprisonment on each of two charges of harassment, giving a total of six months.
But she suspended the final three months on condition he remain on good behaviour and attend for psychiatric treatment.
She refused to suspend the entire sentence but granted leave to appeal.