Belfast Telegraph

Web sex charges teen may have 50 victims, court told

By Alan Erwin

Up to 50 schoolboys may have been the alleged victims of a teenager accused of internet sex offences, a court has heard.

A detective said that scores of indecent images and video clips were found on an iPad seized from the 17-year-old accused.

The youth, who cannot be identified because of his age, has been charged with inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

He faces further offences of possessing, making and distributing indecent photographs or pseudo photographs of children.

All of the alleged offences were committed between August last year and January.

The teenager appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court accompanied by his parents. A detective who connected him to the charges claimed that he may commit further offences if released on bail.

The court heard how the child allegedly incited into sexual activity is a 14-year-old boy.

It was also revealed that the authorities were having to contact dozens of other boys who may have been victims.

The officer said: “There are approximately 50 injured parties in this case, and specialist interviews involving boys at various schools within the locality where he is living (are ongoing).”

It was revealed that the accused was previously on bail in connection with other charges.

District Judge George Conner was told that there was evidence that he had continued accessing the internet via the device seized for examination.

“Police have viewed the material on that iPad of an indecent nature,” the detective said. “There are scores of indecent images of children and video clips of children.”

A defence lawyer stressed that there was no evidence of any new alleged offending in the last two months. He said his client's parents had been “slightly in denial” about the seriousness of the case, but were now prepared to ensure that their son did not go online.

The teenager's mother told the court she was prepared to monitor him “24/7”.

Judge Conner ruled that the accused could be granted bail to live at an approved address.

He banned him from using any computer or mobile device with internet access.

The accused was also ordered not to enter internet cafes, schools or parks without approval.

A similar prohibition was put on contact with children. He will appear again before Belfast Youth Court on March 26.

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