A Galway man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to the sexual exploitation of two schoolgirls on dates in November 2016.

The Galway Circuit Criminal Court heard that 54-year old Adrian Finnerty of Athenry Road, Loughrea used a photograph of an 18-year old boy on his own Facebook profile to lure teenage girls and conduct sexually explicit conversations with them.

The father of one pleaded guilty last year to two separate charges involving the sexual exploitation of two girls, aged 15 and 13,  on dates in November 2016.

The court heard that Finnerty used his own name on the Facebook account but told all the young women he befriended online that he was 18 years old.

Judge Rory McCabe said Adrian Finnerty had engaged in grooming the girls.

The judge said these particular offences stood at the lower end on the scale of gravity as they involved no serious criminal pre-meditation.

He imposed a three-year sentence for the first offence and a two-and-a-half-year sentence for the second offence, to be served concurrently.

He suspended the final 18 months of both sentences and ordered that Mr Finnerty come under the supervision of the probation service for 12 months after his release.

Afterwards the girls' parents said they were disappointed at what they called the leniency of the sentence handed down.

 

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