A man accused of sexually abusing a schoolboy he met on Grindr has been refused bail.
The 24-year-old man from Belfast – who has been granted anonymity due to fears he would take his own life – denies four counts of sexuality activity involving penetration with a 14-year-old boy between July and October last year.
He is also charged with breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) in connection with a bar job, The Irish News reported.
Following concerns from the child’s father, police launched a fresh investigation into his activities and found that he had met the alleged victim on Grindr.
The court heard that the accused and the victim were drawn together by shared experiences of isolation and confusion over their sexuality.
However, the defendant was denied bail after the judge stressed the need to protect the public
Opposing bail, Crown lawyer Kate McKay said: “He will potentially re-engage with (the boy) who thought in his young mind that there was a relationship ongoing with this man.
“At 14 years of age he is unable to consent in law to any sexual activity.”
Defence lawyer Mark McGarrity said his client is contesting the charges and said: “He contends that he was led to believe by the complainant that he was of age where he could consent.”
Mr Justice McAlinden said: “He (the defendant) has flouted his SOPO on a number of matters, including gaining employment (at premises) which obviously is one of the more popular venues for young people in Belfast.”