Belfast Telegraph

Convicted sex abuser accused of using online video game to groom boy aged 14

By Alan Erwin

A convicted sex offender used an online video game to groom a schoolboy into forming a "romantic" relationship, a court has heard.

The 23-year-old Belfast man used League of Legends to make contact with the 14-year-old he is accused of committing sex acts against, police claim.

Details emerged as the defendant, categorised as posing a high risk of causing harm to the public, was remanded in custody on new charges.

He cannot be named due to reporting restrictions imposed amid concerns for his own safety.

The accused faces four counts of intentionally engaging in sexual touching on dates between July 1 and October 19.

Further alleged offences involve breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order by failing to notify authorities of new employment, and fraud by false representation.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard police were alerted by the boy's father.

A detective constable said: "He was concerned that the defendant was in contact via a game or app called League of Legends, which allows communication."

Interviews were carried out with the boy in which he named the accused and alleged several incidents of contact, a judge was told.

"He requested or pursued a romantic relationship with the injured party," the detective said.

"There was face-to-face contact on numerous occasions; police feel the injured party was groomed and then conducted a relationship with this defendant."

She also alleged that Snapchat instant messaging was used during part of the campaign.

During cross-examination, she confirmed no internet devices have yet been seized.

The court was told that the accused denied meeting or recent contact with the schoolboy, and claimed to know nothing about the League of Legends game.

Refusing bail, however, District Judge Broderick identified concerns about reoffending or interference with the complainant.

He agreed to impose temporary anonymity after being told the accused was under threat in his community and is at risk of self-harm.

But Judge Broderick said the order is to be reviewed, with medical evidence supplied, when the defendant appears in court again on December 7.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph