FBI tip-off led to conviction of Limerick man who had child porn at home

David Hurley

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David Hurley

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david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

FBI tip-off led to conviction of Limerick man who had child porn at home

The man had hundreds of videos and images depicting hardcore child pornography and bestiality on his computer

A MAN who admitted having hundreds of videos and images depicting hardcore child pornography and bestiality has been jailed for two and-a-half years.

The material, some of which was at the higher end of the scale, was found by gardai who seized laptops and computers at a house in Limerick following tip-offs from the FBI and Interpol.

The 37-year-old father-of-one pleaded guilty to possession of 257 images of child pornography and 219 videos at his home in the city on December 21, 2015.

Detective Garda Shane Ryan told Limerick Circuit Court the house was searched after an IP (internet) address associated with the property was flagged by both the FBI and Interpol.

He said the FBI identified the address after they infiltrated and took control of a Playpen – a peer-to-peer sharing service on the Darknet which had around 500,000 users across the world.

As part of Operation Pacifier, the FBI monitored activity on the site for a number of months in an effort to identify users and their IP addresses.

Detective Garda Ryan said a user by the name of ‘Horny Irish’ was identified and subsequently linked to the address in Limerick. The same address was identified during an Interpol investigation in Germany – codenamed Venedig.

When gardai called to the defendant’s home, a number of electronic devices were seized for technical and forensic examination. The accused, who was working in a mobile phone repair store at the time, co-operated fully and supplied them with passwords for the devices.

He admitted searching for, downloading and viewing child pornography but insisted he had never shared any of the material online.

The detective said an analysis of the electronic devices showed the material which had been downloaded had not been viewed. There was evidence, he added, that thousands of other images and videos had been deleted by the defendant after they were viewed.

Graphic details of some of the content was outlined during the closed court hearing along with some of the search terms which were used by the defendant.

Michael Collins SC said his client has a good work history and the evidence before the court was consistent with his contention that he never shared or uploaded child pornography to the Darknet.

He asked the judge to note his cooperation and guilty plea adding that he has sought assistance to address his problems. He added that Tusla has engaged with his client and that no concerns have emerged.

Imposing sentence, Judge Tom O’Donnell said possession of child pornography is not a victimless crime and that it was a difficult case to deal with.

He noted the defendant’s admissions and guilty plea but said the nature of the content seized was an aggravating factor he had to consider.

The media was not allowed to identify the defendant, whose name has been placed on the register of sexual offenders indefinitely.