January 2013

Man used social network to groom girl aged just 10

A man who groomed a 10year-old girl using an online social networking site has been banned from the internet.

Gary Monaghan told her to show him her chest – or he would report her to the police.

The abuse was watched by the terrified schoolgirl’s younger cousin, aged eight.

Monaghan, 41, appeared at Peterhead Sheriff Court yesterday, having earlier admitted repeatedly inducing the girl to participate in sexual activity and indulging in an obscene chat with her.

He also sent her a link to an explicit pornographic video.

The offence happened on February 5 last year.

Monaghan, of 26 Burnside Road, Mintlaw, was spared a jail sentence, but ordered to take part in a five- year sex offenders treatment programme.

He has been banned from using or owning any machine – including a mobile phone – which allows access to the internet, unless he first gets authorisation from police.

Monaghan would need further consent if he wanted to set up a profile on a social networking site, and would also have to agree that officers could check it whenever they wanted.

Monaghan was also ordered to stay away from children, unless it is unavoidable or if one of his relatives is present.

He was placed under supervision for three years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

His agent, solicitor Debbie Wilson, stressed that it was Monaghan’s first offence.

“Yes, but he offended in spectacular style,” replied Sheriff Gregor Murray.

The court heard that Monaghan’s home computer was examined by police, but no evidence of child pornography was found.

Sheriff Murray said that if any obscene material had been discovered, he would have sent him to prison.

He told him: “Yo u pleaded guilty to an offence which is a graphic example of what can happen on the internet.

“It is the type of truly repugnant offence which needs to be eradicated.”

Mrs Wilson said that the court orders could cause difficulty for Monaghan’s family if he wanted to watch a children’s football match, where he would have to be supervised by a relative.

The court previously heard that his young victim and her cousin were at their home in Glasgow playing with a laptop.

She hit a button marked “meet new friends” on her social networking page and Monaghan’s image ap- peared on her screen. He asked the girl to show her chest, telling her if she didn’t he would call the police.

He chatted to her again and asked her if she had ever watched pornography.

He sent a link to an obscene cl i p, which t he youngster did not open, but later found by her parents.