A court has heard that a man was trying to meet a child for sex after replying to a fake profile on a dating website.
In May 2018, Ioan Ovidiu had got in contact with a girl posing as an 18-year-old on the dating site ‘Fastmeet’.
The person behind the fake profile was a member of a volunteer group whose sole purpose is to locate online predators who attempt to groom underage children.
According to Detective Garda Jean McDonnell, the volunteers set up fake accounts to act as “decoy children”.
The person behind the fake profile had told Ovidiu that she was actually 14 years old and sent a photograph of a teenager to prove her claims.
Ovidiu continued to communicate despite the information that he had just learned and had asked her to send sexually explicit images of herself to him.
He had then arranged to meet up to engage in sexual activity with the girl on the 27th of May.
Upon showing up to the arranged meeting place at a supermarket in Mulhuddart, Co. Dublin, Ovidiu was met with a very hostile crowd.
The court heard that gardaí had taken Ovidiu to a garda station for his own safety.
The 54-year-old pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography while admitting to communicating with a child in order to facilitate the sexual exploitation of the child on dates between May 20th and May 27th back in 2018.
Judge Nolan stated that the accused began communicating with the girl on the basis that they were an adult.
He said that he went on to meet a “putative 14-year-old to engage in sexual activity”.
Although no child was involved and no sexual activity took place, Judge Nolan stated that sexual exploitation of a child is a very serious offence and that this was an attempt to carry out the offence.
He added that Ovidiu was “suitably remorseful for his actions” and that he had no previous convictions.
He imposed an 18-month prison term which he backdated to the 23rd of March, which was when Ovidiu first entered custody.
IMAGE – “Criminal Courts of Justice, Dublin.” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by infomatique