A young Irish man’s accusations that a Galway City Councilor groomed and sexually abused him since age 16 led to a politician’s resignation.
The alleged victim shared two videos on Twitter accusing Galway, Ireland’s first openly LGBT city councilor, Owen Hanley, of grooming and abusing him, according to a Post Millenial report.
“I am a victim of sexual abuse, catfishing, and underage grooming. Owen Hanley did this to me,” alleged the Twitter account using the name Jaimie Mac Giolla Bháin on New Year’s Day. “Mr. Hanley operated a fake Twitter account under the name Irish Jock, using the handle @leftmuscle. He posed as a teenager and reached out to me on Twitter, knowing who I was from previous engagements in the Social Democrats.”
Bháin described being coaxed into transmitting explicit images of himself over “a long period,” beginning after he turned 16 and continuing until February 2022.
After he discovered Hanley was behind the Twitter account, Bháin said he confronted the councilor with his evidence. Hanley denied the allegations, the alleged victim stated. He added that all traces of the accounts Bháin claimed Hanley operated were erased from Twitter and his profile pictures removed.
The videos went viral in the heavily Catholic island nation. Hanley announced his resignation from Galway’s city council January 4.
“In the past 48 hours certain allegations have been made about me,” Hanley said in a statement posted to Facebook, according to an Irish Times report. “These are very serious matters and will obviously take a considerable length of time to be investigated fully by the appropriate authorities. In these circumstances I believe that the correct thing for me to do is to resign my membership of Galway City Council.”
The accused man added he would not provide further comment on the matter.
Hanley was first elected in 2019, at 23, to represent Galway City East, according to the Irish Times report. The report noted he was the first Social Democrats representative appointed to the council, the council’s first openly gay member and the youngest councilor elected to Galway’s council.
A Social Democrats spokesperson said in a statement that members believe Hanley’s resignation was appropriate. The statement added that authorities were made aware of the allegations.
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