Vile Liam Cooley granted bail as he appeals 51 year sentence after pleading guilty to child porn charges
By Ciaran Murphy
Waterford City–A twisted dad who distributed a photo of a one-year-old performing a sex act on a man walked free from court.
Vile Liam Cooley was handed a total of 51 years at the Circuit Criminal Court in Waterford City after he pleaded guilty to child porn possession and distribution charges – but he was bailed pending an appeal of his sentence.
The father-of-five, with an address at Bath Street, Waterford City, was also banned from using the internet for 15 years.
Cooley pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of child pornography pictures and six counts in connection with distributing the images.
The 61-year-old, who previously worked at the St Vincent de Paul Men’s Hostel in the city, was found to be in the possession of 388 separate images and video clips of children.
Two of these images involved child sexual abuse with an animal and 238 of them involved children with their genitals exposed.
The court heard Cooley was found out when a patron took his jacket from a city pub on April 1st 2010 by mistake.
However, the pub-goer found Cooley’s phone and battery unattached in the pocket.
The man re-assembled the phone and activated the device in order to find out the owner’s identity.
When he turned it on, he saw images of child pornography and brought the phone back to the pub, where it was brought to the attention of an off-duty garda there.
The garda then contacted Det Gda Michael Burke and an investigation was initiated.
A search warrant was obtained and a search was made at the man’s home.
A Compaq computer was confiscated and Cooley was arrested.
When the computer was analysed by garda computer experts, two video clips and 388 images of child pornography were found.
The man had used an alias in chat rooms and was found to have sent images to individuals on six occasions.
When interviewed by gardai, he “was cooperative” and handed over the laptop, said Det Gda Burke in evidence yesterday.
Cooley told gardai that the ruse was “a wake-up call”.
He said: “My buzz is not from the images but the chat with others.”
The father, who is now out of the family home and has lost his job, described the set-up as “a fantasy land” and a place “where people live out a fantasy”.
Det Gda Paul Fitzpatrick, of the Computer Crime Investigation Unit, told Judge Tom Teehan that some 141 images contained oral and penetrative sex with adults and were “on the high end of the scale”.
Judge Tom Teehan said the crimes were “extremely serious”, especially as the images contained “totally innocent people who do not have the capacity” to understand what was being done to them.
Judge Teehan sentenced Cooley to three years on three counts of possession of the images and seven years on six counts of the distribution of images.
All sentences are to run concurrently.
However, Mr Teehan suspended the last five years of the sentence for a period of 15 years before he suspended the entirety of the sentence.
This was done on the basis that the defense are to appeal the severity “with expedition” to the next sitting of Court of Criminal Appeal for the matter to be listed for hearing. Cooley was also ordered not to use the Internet or a related device for 15 years.