Belfast Telegraph

Cliftonville faces pressure to act after star Donnelly jailed for sharing sex photo of girl (16)

Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Cliftonville FC has come under pressure "to do more" following the Jay Donnelly verdict.

Donnelly remains on the books of the north Belfast club. He did play in a fixture against Linfield in November, a day after pleading guilty.

It is unclear whether the Solitude outfit knew of the guilty plea at that time. He has not played since.

In a statement, Cliftonville said: "The judgment, as will the outcome of the appeal, will be given due consideration by Cliftonville Football Club.

"The club are mindful of their duties and responsibilities and will continue to act on this basis."

Belfast Feminist Network welcomed the sentencing.

However, it criticised Cliftonville for their "non-committal statement".

It added: "They need to do better than this, especially in the wake of the new information about the details of the case."

Meanwhile, an ex-police chief says young people need to be aware of the consequences of taking and sharing an indecent image of a person under 18.

Jim Gamble, the former head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, said there are important lessons to be learned.

He added: "This case should act as a deterrent to anyone who has a relationship with a young person and thereafter shares an (indecent) image.

"Young people need to realise that no matter what the circumstance, it is absolutely unlawful to take and share an image of anyone under 18.

"If you do then you are placing yourself in jeopardy.

"That's something that young people need to reflect on before they share an image, even consensually."

The NSPCC said sharing indecent images of a child is a serious offence, reflected in the custodial sentence imposed on Donnelly.

It added: "The children in images distributed in this way are victims of crime and the NSPCC is campaigning for more to be done to prevent adults from sharing such material on social media and for providers to do more to remove it from their platforms."

Both the Irish Football Association and Northern Ireland Football League said that as Donnelly's sentencing is subject to appeal, they will not be making any further comment at this stage.

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