A man who was 21 when he had sex with a 16-year-old boy he met on Tinder has been jailed for one year.
Shane Chubb, now aged 24, pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 17 between April 13th and April 15th, 2017. Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the boy was a virgin.
Chubb also pleaded guilty to one count of assaulting the boy on April 15th, 2017 at Chubb’s home at Cookstown Road, Tallaght. He has no previous convictions.
Sergeant Gary Farrell told the court that the victim, who is legally entitled to anonymity, joined the Tinder dating app in 2016 before being removed because he was under the age of 18.
In 2017, he re-joined the app with a fake date of birth and got chatting to Chubb online. The boy told Chubb he was only 16, but that he was “mature”.
The pair kept in contact and made arrangements to meet in Chubb’s home for tea, before the boy suggested that he stay the night.
During this visit, the pair “ended up having sex”, Sgt Farrell told the court, with the boy later telling gardaí: “He took my virginity”.
The pair met the next day in Chubb’s house where they discussed what had happened, with the boy telling Chubb this was his first experience of sex.
Later on, Chubb started kissing the boy and then began biting him, including on his chest, arms and thighs.
The boy eventually screamed out in pain, asking Chubb: “Why did you do that?”
He left shortly afterwards.
The boy texted Chubb later that night saying: “You really hurt me and scared me a bit.”
The boy said he no longer wanted to keep in touch.
Chubb replied saying “I hurt and scared you?”
He added: “I hope you know I never intended to hurt or scare you.” He apologised for biting the boy.
The boy confided in his sister about the incident and went to gardaí a couple of days later. He was not in court for the sentence hearing and did not wish to make a victim impact statement, the court heard.
Judge Karen O’Connor said that the levels of dysfunction in the background of the defendant but said she had to mark the seriousness of the offence.
“He took advantage of a child, he was fully aware (of the victim’s age). He is a highly intelligent man who knew what he was doing was wrong,” she said.
Judge O’Connor said that an “important message” had to go out that “if someone meets someone online and is aware the person is a child there will be consequences”.
Noting his “tragic background” as his guilty plea as mitigation, she suspended the second year of a two year prison term. She imposed conditions that Chubb stop using Tinder during the entire term and engage with the Probation Services.
The offence comes with a maximum sentence of five years.
In a letter addressed to his victim and read out in court, Chubb said: “It is difficult to put into words my remorse. When we first started talking, you made clear to me your age. To my mind, the age didn’t matter. When I was 16, I acted like I was 20.”
But Chubb said he knows now what he did was wrong. “I don’t want to play the victim. You are the victim, and I am sorry.” He apologised for the “emotional pain and turmoil” he put the boy through.
James Dwyer SC, defending, said his client had a history of Tourettes, ADHD and OCD. His mother suffered with drug addiction issues and he had a difficult childhood marred by abuse and neglect.
Despite this, he got a scholarship to private secondary school Clongowes Wood College but “he didn’t get on there, due to his weight and his sexuality”, Mr Dwyer said.
He completed his education at a local school and got a scholarship to Trinity College.
Mr Dwyer submitted that the age gap between Chubb and the boy was “smaller than it often is in such cases”.
“Equally for the complainant and the defendant, although this country has moved on, young gay men have a lot of psychological difficulties in relation to sex in a heteronormative society,” he said.
Judge O’Connor said that Chubb had a strong history of work and noted his work as an advocate and mentor for HIV awareness. She described his background as “extremely tragic”, including a childhood of abuse and neglect.
She noted he has suffered from depression and is in ongoing psychiatric care.