Irish Mormon missionary who tried to lure kids for sex is nabbed in sting operation
An Irish Mormon missionary who tried to have sex with three children he thought he had lured over the internet, was nabbed in a sting operation by UK police.
Pervert Joseph Shanks, originally from Co Westmeath, claimed he was doing “charity work” and would be rewarded by GOD.
But the twisted predator didn’t realise the children’s mother he met online in England was really an undercover officer and he was arrested before any abuse took place.
When the 63-year-old married father turned up to rape the ‘victims’ he thought were aged nine, six and three, he was arrested by officers.
Shanks, who lives in the Church of Latter Day Saints missionary home in Chorley, Lancashire, was jailed for seven years on Monday after admitting ten sex charges.
The former civil servant had turned up for the rendezvous carrying a USB stick with thousands of vile abuse images of children.
Canterbury Crown Court in England heard how a police officer posed as “Sarah”, a mother to three fictitious children, was contacted by Shanks – who used the name Andy Brown.
Prosecutor Daniel Stevenson said: “Following conversations between ‘Sarah’ and Shanks it was clear from their conversation that the meeting was to facilitate him engaging in sexual activity with all three children.”
Shanks claimed he was in the army and volunteered for the church.
He rang from a mobile number but when that didn’t work – he called from a landline registered to the Mormon Church’s missionary training centre in Preston.
In November last year, the missionary worker left his wife in Lancashire and drove in his Hyundai Tucson 260 miles to the M23 Pease Pottage services, Kent, when he was arrested.
Shanks told police he was a member of the Mormon faith living in a Mormon community since 2016 and claimed he was doing “charitable work of God who would reward him with blessings as he tried to bring light into the lives of the three children”.
But Judge Simon James told him all he was doing was to act out his twisted sexual fantasies.
Mr Stevenson, prosecuting, said that Shanks had contacted a covert investigator on line, who was posing as the mother of three fictitious children.
He said: “She used the name Sarah and her children were said to be aged three, six and nine.
“The two youngest were girls and the nine year old a boy.
“During the course of online communications, ‘Sarah’ spoke with a man who used the name Andy Brown. Andy Brown was in fact the defendant.
“Following these conversations, Mr Shanks made arrangements to travel to meet her and on November 26 they were scheduled to meet at Pease Pottage Services on the M23.
“Upon arriving he was disappointed to be greeted by officers of Kent Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team, rather than the willing mother of three children.”
The prosecutor added that Sarah and Andy had been in contact from October 2016 after the undercover officer received contact from .
He said he had a sexual interest in children and stated he was 63 years old, he was called Joe and claimed to have come originally from Ireland but was now living in Preston.
He told her he wanted to meet her children and promised to bring KY jelly, some of which was later found in his car.
During sentencing on Monday, Judge Simon James told him: “It is clear that you are an individual who is sexually attracted to children.
“That’s abundantly clear by the large amount of images you had depicting sexual abuse which were found in your car, including images depicting the rape of children as young as two years old.
“It is clear that you made efforts to act out your fantasies, by arranging to meet a mother of three children with the intent of having sex with them.
“What is also clear is that you had no idea that the person you were talking with was an undercover officer.
“You intended to subject those children to a whole catalogue of abuse.”