Published Wednesday, 06 March 2013
The accused was granted bail at the High Court. (© UTV)
According to prosecutors, a social worker also fears the teenagers were plied with drugs or alcohol.
Details emerged as bail was granted to a man accused of flouting a ban on him having any contact with two girls, aged 14 and 17.
Frederick Boyd, 20 and from Mark Street in Newtownards, faces five charges of child abduction on dates last month.
The court heard how he was issued with a harbourers' warning notice which prohibited him from being with either girl.
But it was claimed that, within days, he was seen with them before they returned to the care home.
The judge was told of three further incidents involving the 17-year-old girl, when she allegedly went missing with Boyd.
He didn't put a knife to her throat, a gun to her head, or a ball and chain on her.
Grandmother of accused
On two of those occasions, staff from the home collected her again outside shops on Belfast's Shankill Road - once after being out overnight.
Conor Maguire, prosecuting, said Boyd told police he had been with the 17-year-old girl and was going to continuing seeing her regardless of the warning notice.
"The police officer has spoken to a social worker involved with these girls and it has been explained to police their concern is this applicant is giving the girls, or has given the girls, alcohol and/or drugs," Mr Maguire said.
"They have expressed concern that, when the girls return to the children's home, they are intoxicated."
Opposing bail, the barrister added: "They are described, including the 17-year-old, as being vulnerable.
"There is a concern, and I can't put it higher than that, that these girls have been sexually exploited."
Defence counsel Alan Blackburn stressed his client was not charged with any sexual offences.
He told the court that Boyd had associated with the older girl for a number of months, while the 14-year-old just "tagged along" on one occasion.
The accused's grandmother was called to give evidence in a bid to help secure bail.
She insisted there was no abduction involved.
If I hear you have broken the trust your grandmother has in you, you will be straight back where you are.
Mr Justice Weir
The judge emphasised that children in care need at least as much protection as any others.
But he agreed to bail after being told that the investigating detective was not opposed to Boyd staying outside Newtownards.
The accused, who appeared via video-link, is to be granted temporary release to sign for rented accommodation in Belfast ahead of anticipated full bail.
He was banned from having any contact with either girl or going within six miles of where they live.