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Woman who set up fake Facebook profile to ‘out’ sex abuse victim, 15, convicted of online trolling

A mother of two cried when she was convicted of online trolling offenses after revealing the name of a 15-year-old sexual assault victim on Facebook when her attacker went to prison.

Gemma Dunning, 38, from Widnes, Cheshire, used a fake profile to ‘unmask’ the traumatized teenager in a social media post about a pedophile abusing him during a camping trip.

A court heard that during an exchange of messages in April this year, Dunning criticized users who convicted convicted pedophile Michael Cullen, 36, of his offence.

In a post, he said: “It’s people like you who would hang someone without evidence, I just hope nothing like this happens to you or someone close to you.”

Gemma Dunning, 38, Pictured Outside Warrington Magistrates Court, Where She Was Convicted Of Online Trolling Offenses After Naming A 15-Year-Old Sexual Abuse Victim.

Gemma Dunning, 38, pictured outside Warrington Magistrates Court, where she was convicted of online trolling offenses after naming a 15-year-old sexual abuse victim.

Convicted Pedophile Michael Cullen Was Jailed For Three Years In April After A Court Found He Had Sexually Abused A 15-Year-Old Boy On A Camping Trip.

Convicted Pedophile Michael Cullen Was Jailed For Three Years In April After A Court Found He Had Sexually Abused A 15-Year-Old Boy On A Camping Trip.

Convicted pedophile Michael Cullen was jailed for three years in April after a court found he had sexually abused a 15-year-old boy on a camping trip.

In another, he added: “The only thing the boy is is a victim of not having parents who loved and cared for him enough to show him right and wrong.”

Dunning eventually removed the post after a wave of complaints, but the comments were passed on to the boy’s parents and police were alerted.

It was later tracked down after Facebook itself agreed to hand over the IP address details in the fake profile that was linked to Dunning’s home address.

At Warrington Magistrates’ Court, Dunning sobbed as she was fined £200 after she admitted to illegally publishing the name of a sex victim who was protected by an anonymity order.

He stated that he did not intend to release the boy’s name in his posts.

The incident occurred after a court report was posted on Facebook about Cullen, also from Widnes, jailed for three years after being convicted at Liverpool Crown Court of sexual activity with a child under 16 and inciting to a child under the age of 16 to sexual activity.

Yvonne Dobson, prosecutor said: “The victim is 15 years old and is subject to an order of anonymity. The article showed that defendant Michael Cullen was convicted, but a posting underneath was a copy of a document containing the victim’s name.

It was uploaded under the profile of Joey McGee, who was in fact the defendant in the comments section of the Widnes Weekly News Facebook page.

At 10 am the next day, the victim’s father sent the victim’s mother a screenshot of the comments section. Shortly after, she reported him to the police.

Police investigations with Facebook revealed that a phone number and IP address linked Joey McGee’s name to Dunning.

Ms Dobson said the defendant fully admitted in the police interview that he had uploaded the document.

The prosecutor said: ‘The defendant has now pleaded guilty to being the one who published the document. He has no prior convictions and before he had a good character, now he has lost it”.

Courts automatically grant victims of sexual crimes lifelong anonymity.

Representing herself, Dunning, who is caring for her 21-year-old disabled son, was emotional when she said: “I didn’t want to put his name on there.” I missed it. I wrote all the names, but one remained.

Chairman Alan Eyres told him that it is important that the names of the victims in such cases are not published, as it would deter other victims from coming forward.

“That’s not what I wanted to do,” Dunning replied, “I know I shouldn’t have done it.” That’s why I pleaded guilty.

The magistrates fined her £200 and ordered her to pay £154 in costs and victim surcharge.

“This has been taken very seriously,” Eyres said. “The damage is already done and putting names on social media could have been very bad for you.”

Cullen’s trial in April heard how he had sexually abused the boy while he slept in a tent after spending the day ‘taking an interest’ in him.

The court heard that he splashed water on his groin in a water fight, drew a dog on his thigh and nuzzled his leg with his foot while watching a movie.

Later, the victim woke up in the tent to find Cullen stroking her back and reaching into her shorts. At that point, the victim sensed that he was having an “anxiety attack” and “rezipped his sleeping bag.”

The teen later said the incident had affected his ability to sleep and his relationships at school, as well as how he feels about himself.

Cullen denied any wrongdoing, but a judge called it a “disgrace” and was ordered to sign the Sex Offender Registry for Life.

Additionally, she was told to comply with the terms of a sexual harm prevention order and was prohibited from contacting the child under the terms of a restraining order.

After being alerted to the breach of the anonymity order, the Widnes and Runcorn Weekly News published under the article: ‘Please note that all victims (and alleged victims) of sex crimes have a legal right to anonymity for life.

“You SHOULD NOT post anything that could result in someone identifying any of the victims.”

In response to Dunning’s original offensive comment, one social media user wrote: “Joey McGee, you just revealed the identity of the victim.”

“I suggest you delete your screenshots so as not to cause further harm to the victim or their families.”

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Jacky

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