A man who worked locally with kids has been convicted of a number of child sex offences.
Jonathon Conaghan, 41, of no fixed abode was convicted of two charges of sexual assault of a child under 13, one charge of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, sexual communication with a child, two charges of voyeurism and meeting a child following grooming at Langanside Crown Court on Wednesday.
He was sentenced to two years and eight months imprisonment; half of which will be served in custody and half on licence.
Conaghan, who is also required to sign the sex offenders’ register for life, was disqualified from working with children and will be subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for eight years.
DUP councillor Mark Baxter said that the people of Donaghcloney, close to where Conaghan lived in Northern Ireland, were “shocked” and “furious” at the news.
“I met him and I knew him,” explained Mr Baxter.
“He lived on the outskirts of Donaghcloney, and when this all came to light it shocked a lot of people locally. People were angry when they heard what he was convicted [of child sex offences].
“People are furious that someone like that can slip through Access NI checks and police checks to work with kids, especially given some of the children had learning difficulties and additional needs.”
Detective Constable Lizzie Ballentine from PSNI’s Public Protection Branch said: “Conaghan abused his position of trust, grooming and sexually abusing a young boy. Through working with colleagues in Hampshire Constabulary, Conaghan was arrested in England and our police investigation led to this offender being placed before the courts.
“Detectives in PSNI Public Protection Branch are committed to investigating all reports of sexual offences against children and young people.
“We will seek to place offenders before the courts so they can be made amenable for their crimes and we have specially trained officers who will treat victims with sensitivity and respect.
“I would continue to encourage anyone who has experienced any form of sexual abuse to contact police on 101.”
Sign up for our weekly newsletter here.