A former bank worker caught with thousands of sexually explicit images of children has been given a fully suspended sentence.
Robert Traynor (54) told gardaí that he believed the images were of adults posing as children, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.
Traynor, with an address in Crumlin, Dublin pleaded guilty to possession of 1,938 images and 183 videos of child pornography on February 2, 2018. He also admitted the production of 1,650 computer generated images on September 22, 2014, contrary to the 1998 child trafficking pornography act.
Sentencing him on Friday, Judge Pauline Codd said the offending material involved the “gross exploitation” of children, which she described as “abhorrent”.
“The onus is on the courts to protect children from such vile exploitation,” she said.
She noted Traynor has undergone counselling since the offences came to light, has engaged well with therapy and has been deemed at a low risk of re-offending.
She handed down a two-and-a-half year sentence and suspended it on a number of conditions, including that Traynor remain under the supervision of the Probation Services for three years and continue to engage in sex offender therapy.
Detective Garda Thomas Burke previously told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, that as part of an ongoing garda operation into online child exploitation, a computer address was linked to the possession of “child pornography” images and videos in an online “peer to peer” network.
Traynor's home was linked to this computer through his internet provider Eir and gardai went to the house in February 2018. Under caution, Traynor told gardai that he had downloaded erotic material but said he believed the images and videos were of adults posing as children.
The court heard Traynor had searched for the images using the Tor browser, which allows users to hide their location.
An external disk drive seized by gardai was found to contain 65 video files and hundreds of images, the court heard. These images showed girls aged between six and 12 posing for the camera where they were sexually exposed.
Over 2,000 computer generated images found in an encrypted folder depicted young girls using sex toys or lying next to naked males.
Traynor told gardaí after his arrest that the images were “skirting the boundaries” but were not “child pornography”, saying he believed they were actors posing as children.
Dt Gda Burke told Judge Pauline Codd that this was “clearly not the case” and that “they are quite obviously children”. He said some of the cartoon images depicted the girls much smaller in size and height than the males, saying “it's clear they are young children”.
Micheal Hourigan BL, defending, told the court that his client had a good employment history and had previously worked in IT for a bank.
He said as a result of a health condition in his youth, his client became isolated and his sexual development stifled. He has engaged with therapy since the offending came to light and has displayed progress in developing insight into the reasons behind his offending, counsel said.