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14th Jan 2022

Dublin dad-of-seven pleads guilty to possessing 300+ images of child sexual abuse

He was arrested in June 2020.

**Content warning: This article may be distressing to some readers.

A father-of-seven will soon be sentenced for downloading over 300 images of child sexual abuse to his mobile phone.

Patrick O’Brien, 69, was arrested in June 2020 after gardaí called to his home in Clondalkin, Dublin, after receiving information from the Garda online child exploitation unit.

The unit had been alerted to the downloading of sexually explicit images of children on a digital device linked to his address.

O’Brien’s wife opened the door to gardaí as he was not home at the time of their arrival. When O’Brien returned he reportedly told gardaí that there was “no point in covering up, it’s me”.

He admitted that he had downloaded the images and handed his mobile phone over, later pleading guilty to possession of images depicting children engaged in explicit sexual activity contrary to the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998.

The downloads contained around 200 sexually explicit images of children, 55 images of naked children, and 75 images showing children as young as three years old being sexually abused.

The images were described in graphic detail during a sentence hearing on Thursday at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Detective Garda Gemma Casserly told the court that O’Brien admitted that he had downloaded “child abuse images” from the internet during his interview with gardaí.

O’Brien said that he began looking at the material a few months prior and never shared it with anyone else.

The court heard he began counselling after his offences came to light and his solicitors handed in a letter from his wife that claimed his crimes were out of character for him.

Judge Melanie Greally adjourned sentence to allow for an assessment by the Probation Service and remanded O’Brien on continuing bail to May 16th.

If you have been affected by any of the details of this article, you can contact Women’s Aid’s 24 hour helpline on 1800 341 900, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre on  1800 77 8888, or Childline on 1800 66 66 66.