Published On: Fri, Feb 20th, 2015

Landmark Verdict: Child Molester Awarded $32, 000 in Damages from Facebook

CG claimed harassment, violation of his right to privacy and breaches of the Data Protection Act on the part of both McCloskey and Facebook.

facebook judge

A Northern Ireland High Court judge has ruled this week that a convicted child molester featured on a Facebook page monitoring pedophiles will be awarded $32, 000 in damages, The Irish Times reported.

Justice Stephens decreed that Facebook and the individual page operator, one Joe McCloskey, were guilty of misusing private information.

The judge ordered the “Keeping Our Kids Safe From Predators” profile, which was the cause for the lawsuit, be deleted.

The judge said information published indiscriminately could incite violence.

“It was an attempt to hunt a sex offender, to drive him from his home and to expose him to vilification, ” the judge said.

This is the first such case of damages against Facebook, but attorneys for the plaintiff have said there are many others, similarly assaulted, to follow.

The plaintiff, identified as CG, was in prison until 2012, for gross indecency and an indecent assault against a young girl and a teenage boy.

Now in his forties, CG continues to be supervised by the state, which has deemed him to pose no significant risk to the public, The Irish Times notes. Nevertheless, his photograph and personal information were displayed on the McCloskey’s Facebook page in 2013.

CG claimed harassment, violation of his right to privacy and breaches of the Data Protection Act on the part of both McCloskey and Facebook.

The posting on Facebook was followed by comments that provided additional information about the plaintiff’s location, as well as insults and invitations: “If you see, kill the ****.”

One comment said : “I would tie him to a tree and put a blow torch where he wouldn’t want it. And enjoy watching him in pain.”

And they call the plaintiff a pervert…

CG was also assaulted on a fishing pier, kicked out of a movie theater and had to defend himself with a supermarket cart when he was out shopping.

McCloskey told the court he has “named and shamed” 400 sex offenders on his Facebook page, but argued that he included a disclaimer opposing any violence of intimidation.

So he’s covered…

Except he also wrote on his page: “Instead of Hunger Games it should be Pedophile Games, we could hunt them down on live TV and slaughter them.”

Nice man.

In other comments, cited by the plaintiff’s attorneys, McCloskey said child abusers should be “destroyed” like a dog that attacks a child.

“He took pride in driving an individual out of his home, ” the judge said, adding that McCloskey’s purpose was to “destroy the family life of sex offenders, to expose them to total humiliation and vilification, to drive them from their homes and to expose them to the risk of serious harm.”

He said CG’s actions that led to his imprisonment had been “despicable criminal conduct, ” but, having served his sentence, he is entitled to protection from harm.

Both Facebook and Mr McCloskey were held liable for misuse of private information, with a further finding against the page operator for unlawful harassment, The Irish Times reported. Out of the $32, 000, McCloskeyis liable for $23, 000, and Facebook for $9, 000.

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