A man has pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the Sex Offenders Act 2001 by logging on to online dating app Tinder under a false name and failing to provide a change of address.
Horgan, 38, of no fixed address and formerly of The Hermitage, Macroom, Co Cork, admitted in Macroom District Court that he had used the dating site under the false name ‘Cian’ in May 2021.
Mr Horgan also admitted not informing Gardaí of a change of address.
Mr Horgan had previously told the court that he had lost the mobile phone he used to set up the Tinder account and an investigation had been launched to obtain data from that account through the US Department of Justice.
Providing Evidence Sgt. Trish O’Sullivan told Judge James McNulty that Mr Horgan admitted to setting up the Tinder account when he was interviewed by Gardaí on May 24 this year.
He claimed that using the name “Cian” for his profile on the dating site was a simple typo and was not intended to hide his identity. The court also heard the profile set up by Mr Horgan included his picture.
Sergeant O’Sullivan said Mr Horgan is subject to a curfew under the provisions of the Sex Offenders Act 2001 and is required to notify Gardaí of any change of address within seven days.
She said Gardaí called the Macroom address provided by Mr Horgan three times in April 2022 and each time Mr Horgan was absent.
Each time, Mr Horgan’s parents said they didn’t know where he was and hadn’t seen him in a while.
Mr Horgan’s lawyer Sean Cahill said his client cooperated with gardaí throughout the investigation and always claimed that the use of the name “Cian” on the Tinder profile was in error.
He added that Mr Horgan has spent most of his adult life in prison and the court affairs have not harmed anyone but himself.
Judge McNulty said the main mitigating factor in Mr Horgan’s favor was his guilty plea, but added that given Mr Horgan’s previous convictions, it is “one of the burdens he bears” that he faces a close scrutiny if he came to court.
Judge McNulty said, “The most serious aspect of this is that an innocent man or woman viewed the Tinder dating site and may have been misled about the reality of the person they see on the screen.”
Judge McNulty said only one sentence was appropriate on both counts and sentenced Mr Horgan to two consecutive six-month prison terms.
He added that if he wanted to appeal, he would need two guarantors of €15,000 each, each providing at least €5,000 in cash and subject to prior verification by Gardaí.
https://www.independent.ie/news/man-breached-sex-offenders-act-by-using-false-name-on-tinder-41970860.html Man broke sex offenders law by using a fake name on Tinder