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Carlow Nationalist — Man jailed for offering 14-year-old girl €1,000 for sex

Sonya McLean

A man who offered a 14-year-old girl €1,000 for sex has been jailed for two years.

James Connors (35), of Greenhills Grove, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to offering or promising to give a child money for the sexual exploitation of that child in a Dublin suburb on June 6th, 2021.

The court heard that Connors claimed he did not realise the child was 14 when he told her he would give her €1,000 after they had “made love”. He had approached the child while she was sitting in a hotel waiting for her mother.

Connors continued to talk to the girl until she got up and ran away. She met her mother who was en-route back to her, and told her what happened. The girl and her mother then returned to the hotel to find Connors still there.

Garda Amber Dunne told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that the girl identified Connors to her mother and she took a photo of him and contacted the gardaí.

Connors told the woman: “I didn’t do anything to your daughter. I just offered her €1,000.”

He ran off, but the woman followed him to a nearby park where Connors punched and kicked the child’s mother as he tried to make good his escape. He then urinated in the park before jumping over a fence.

Gda Dunne confirmed a passer-by intervened in an attempt to assist, having spotted Connors earlier and thought there was “something unusual about him”.

Arrest

Connors swore on the graves of his relatives that he never touched the girl. He said he had offered her money and that was as far as it had gone. He then pulled down his trousers and defecated, the court heard.

Gda Dunne said gardaí arrived and Connors was arrested. He claimed he had no idea of the girl’s age, and said if he had known she was only 14 he would never have said that to her.

Connors has 71 previous convictions, most of which are from the District Court.

Gda Dunne agreed with Sarah Jane O’Callaghan BL, defending, that Connor was disgusted by his behaviour when he realised the teenager’s age.

Counsel said her client had “enormous difficulty with drink and drugs” and had lost both his father and a sister to suicide.

Ms O’Callaghan said following his sister’s death, he began experimenting with drugs and became self-destructive.

Judge Martin Nolan said Connors had approached the girl and offered her money for sex.

He said he continued talking with her and then later had a physical altercation with the child’s mother.

He acknowledged Connors has a “long history of difficulties”, but said he deserved a custodial sentence, jailing him for two years.

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