Belfast Telegraph

Teenager created Snapchat account to trade naked photos with businessman, court told

A 14-year-old boy allegedly used social media to repeatedly try to arrange sexual contact with a businessman, the High Court heard on Thursday.

The teenager set up a Snapchat account to trade naked photos and also disclosed to Laszlo Futo that he was promiscuous, a judge was told.

Futo, 30, faces charges of sexual assault, harassment and inciting a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity linked to their online communication.

But he was granted bail after defence lawyers argued new information about messages sent by the alleged victim cast a less sinister light on the case.

Futo, a Hungarian national with an address at Inverary Drive in Belfast, was arrested in the city in October following a complaint by the boy's father.

He told police his son had received indecent images of the accused and been asked to send back similar pictures of himself.

Futo was said to have met the teenager through his car valeting business.

He is also charged with using a public electronic network to send indecent, obscene or menacing messages.

The alleged offences cover a period between November 2014 and August 2015.

Investigating detectives who examined his phone found photographs of young males of "borderline age" engaging in sexual activity, the court heard.

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At a previous hearing it was claimed Futo threatened to abduct and rape the schoolboy if he didn't send images of himself.

He had been ordered to remain in custody amid fears he could flee if released.

But during a fresh application defence counsel contended that an examination of the alleged victim's phone and iPad has disclosed "highly sexualised contact".

Declan Quinn described Futo as a homosexual man who thought the boy was older.

The barrister claimed the teenager "tracked down" his client on Facebook and launched a sustained attempt to encourage him into sending pictures.

"He had been contacted repeatedly by the alleged injured party to request photographs, the alleged injured party had opened a Snapchat account, and the alleged injured party revealed that he was sexually promiscuous," Mr Quinn claimed.

"Whilst the alleged injured party had requested physical sexual contact on at least three occasions the applicant refused to engage in any.

"The applicant drew a line in his own mind between photographs and any physical contact."

Prosecution lawyer Conor Maguire acknowledged that a series of "sexualised" texts appeared to have been sent by the boy.

Based on the new details His Honour Judge Lynch decided to grant bail.

He said: "Whilst I don't derogate from the alleged criminality, they do remove, it seems, some of the more sinister elements that may have been present."

Futo was banned from contacting anyone under 16, having a mobile phone or accessing the internet.

He must surrender his passport and lodge a £1,000 surety as part of his release conditions.

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