One of fifteen girls involved says the experience made her feel "scared, alone and ashamed"
One of fifteen girls sexually exploited online by a 26-year-old Dublin man has said the whole experience made her feel "scared, alone and ashamed."
Matthew Horan of St. Johns Crescent in Clondalkin was today sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in prison with the final two suspended.
Some readers may find the details included in this report distressing.
Matthew Horan used Snapchat and Instagram and other more anonymous messaging services to coerce the young girls.
He would pretend to be a child of the same age and get them to send on explicit photos and videos.
His sentencing hearing heard he threatened to send photos to the friends of one girl if she did not send more.
He would also secretly record Skype video calls.
Gardaí found hundreds of files on his electronic devices when they searched his home in July 2015.
A second search two months later uncovered more material.
Detective Superintendent Declan Daly said the case highlights the need for more vigilance online and he had this advice for anyone who is approached by a predator like Horan:
He also had this warning for parents of young children with access to the internet:
The case of Matthew Horan was deeply disturbing. Only a fraction of what he said to his 15 victims and made them share online was fit for broadcast. There are more monsters like him out there so parents AND children need to be extra vigilant. Detective Declan Daly has this advice pic.twitter.com/WIALHyuQrH— Frank Greaney (@FrankGreaney) January 26, 2018
"Today serves as a timely reminder of the dangers and the potential dangers that can occur on the internet," he said.
"It also serves as a reminder for us all of the need for parents in particular to be vigilant of the internet use regarding their children.
"And it serves as a reminder for children themselves to be aware of the dangers that are on the internet."
"I would like to take this opportunity to renew An Garda Síochána's key message for children in that is is exceptionally dangerous to share images online.
"It is very, very dangerous and children should never arrange or agree to meet any person on the internet."
Judge Martin Nolan said to describe Horan’s actions as depraved would be an understatement.
He said he took advantage of the children’s vulnerability and exploited them in a horrible way.
He then jailed him for seven and a half years and requested a report on all available interventions and services to reform the 26-year-old.