February 08, 2003
Three years' jail for seeking child for sex

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

'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' Jesus are so called professional doctors, psychiatrists, who are sometimes just used in the system to make the perpetrator look as if he is seeking help, allowed throw out these statements into the public comain without substantiating them with facts? as a sexual abuse victim i am truly offended with this statement and find it outrageous - am i the only one?

Posted by: ti on February 8, 2003 10:53 PM


Posted by: ANGRY on February 9, 2003 08:29 AM

I am speechless with anger.
This is worse than the Tim Allen verdict.
This doctor is the director of the Granada Institute where many clerical offenders are "treated".
What hope is there when doctors can make statements like this?

I am livid.

Posted by: Liz on February 9, 2003 05:23 PM

I just dont understand how a Judge comes to a verdict like this.Whats going to happen in three years time.Any person sick enough to be turned on by a child wheather its by touching.raping,or looking at photographs cannot be cured.I believe people like this have to be managed ie supervision at all times while in public.The only good thing about any prison sentance is that while these sickos are behind bars.our children are safe,and I really worry when these people are back in the community,sometimes in a different part of the country where nobody knows them,and they can continue to hurt children again.If we have learned anything from the past is that as soon as temptation (ie a child) comes in their path they will do the very same thing again.As for the sex register I think thats a joke if a judge thinks being on it is going to protect a child.They may have to sign on once or twice a week,what happens for the rest of the week.......

Posted by: Samantha /Lor on February 24, 2003 09:16 PM
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