From The Irish Times
A Garda sergeant who paid a prostitute £100 to find him a seven to 10-year old girl for sex has been jailed for three years by Judge Frank O'Donnell at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Kieran O'Halloran picked up the woman (21) on Blackhall Place in Dublin and they went to a flat on James's Street. He said he was looking for a young girl and told her he did not see it as sexual abuse because he was willing to pay for the service.
She took down his mobile telephone number and said she would meet him on the south side of the city but, instead, she contacted the gardaí. At one point O'Halloran broke down in tears and said he was a monster but the woman reassured him that he wasn't.
Once O'Halloran was identified, the gardaí obtained a search warrant for his home in Drogheda where they seized two computers.
Pornographic material was recovered from one, showing a number of pictures of children engaged in naked poses and sexual activity. A newer model had a number of images deleted but gardaí were able to access various child pornography websites which he had previously visited.
O'Halloran (41), a married father of one, pleaded guilty to soliciting a woman to procure a child for the purpose of her sexual exploitation on December 6th, 2001, and to possessing child pornography on December 8th, 2001.
Judge O'Donnell asked before passing sentence to see some of the recovered pornographic images which he described as very offensive and he placed the crimes in the very serious category. He commended the woman for bringing the matter to Garda attention.
"She put her credibility on trial because of her circumstances, but anyone like her should not be deterred from coming forward and their evidence will be heard. The court does not prejudice a person's credibility," the judge said.
"This case may appear to be less serious than others because there may be no victims but there are parents on the streets of Dublin who would be only too willing to offer their children for sexual exploitation and it's on this basis that I cannot ignore the link between the possession of child pornography and the solicitation."
Judge O'Donnell suspended the last year of the sentence because O'Halloran had suffered greatly but imposed a 20-year term of post-release supervision from the day he got out of jail.
Det Insp John McMahon told Mr Brendan Grehan, prosecuting, that the prostitute rang the Bridewell and gave them O'Halloran's mobile number. O'Halloran answered and the call was quickly terminated. They were able to track him down because of phone records, the registration of his car, which the woman took down, and CCTV footage of him withdrawing money at a cash machine to pay for the child.
Det Insp McMahon said the woman made a detailed statement of her dealings with O'Halloran.
When gardaí called to his home they seized the two computers, some credit card documentation and his mobile phone which he had thrown in his wheelie-bin.
They located a programme on the newer computer called "evidence eliminator". They also discovered the computer had been cleansed the morning after his encounter with the prostitute. O'Halloran took full responsibility for all materials found on the computers but denied throughout that he had solicited the woman to find him a young child.
Det Insp McMahon agreed with Mr Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, that O'Halloran was a competent garda and was well-respected. He also held a command post for 12 months in Croatia while working for the UN.
O'Halloran was suspended from the force after his arrest and resigned before his guilty pleas last November. His marriage was deteriorating before his arrest but this was the last straw and he now lived away from the family home.
Dr Patrick Walsh, director of the Granada Institute, said he had been treating O'Halloran for the past year. He had received more than 200 hours of therapy and his progress was good. There was a low risk that he might reoffend.
Dr Walsh said O'Halloran was brutally raped in his teens which was consistent with sexual tendencies he now showed. He had a serious drink problem and often entered child pornography sites late at night when he was drunk. He said sexual abuse victims often sought to avenge their wretched childhoods by downloading child pornography but only a quarter intended to perpetrate any crime on children.Posted by paul at February 08, 2003 04:51 PM