Saturday 10 December 2016

Elderly man who tried to rape his niece with special needs to be sentenced next month

Declan Brennan

Published 18/11/2015 | 21:17

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An elderly man who admitted molesting and trying to rape his niece with special needs is to be sentenced next month.

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The 75-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the victim’s anonymity, tried to rape the young teenager ten years ago.

In her victim impact report the now adult woman said she was still afraid of the man and that her plans for her life changed as a result of the abuse.

The man pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to attempted rape and the sexual assault of the child at a place in county Cork on unknown dates between 2005 and 2008. The victim was aged between 11 and 14 at the time.

He also admitted attempted rape of the victim at a place in County Limerick on an unknown date between 2011 and 2012 and sexually assaulting her on December 23, 2011. He has no previous convictions.

The investigating garda told Martina Baxter BL, prosecuting, the victim was functioning on the mild intellectual disability range and was currently in residential care with the HSE. In 2011 she disclosed the sexual assaults to a social worker.

After his arrest the man admitted all of the offending and told investigators that the girl was telling the truth.

He admitted touching her breast and trying to have sex with her. In one incident she had come home from her special needs school and was still wearing her school uniform when he tried to rape her in the hallway of the house.

He told gardai he knew it was wrong. He agreed that he had sexually exploited her and knew he would be caught sometime.

The court heard he molested her and tried to rape her while she was in a bedroom in her grandparent's home. He also sexually groped her in the back of car which was traveling to her grandparent's home.

In a victim impact report read into court by the investigating garda, the woman wrote: “I did like myself before and I liked my plan in life. I don't like myself now. I keep saying, why did it happen? There's no solution as to why.”

She said she still imagines him in her bedroom and sometimes feels that “he is walking on my grave”.

“Sometimes I feel sad and I want to hurt myself. I want to jump in the river sometimes,” she wrote.

Mary Rose Gearty SC, defending, said her client was a single man who had never married and had never been in a sexual relationship with a woman. She submitted that a jail sentence would be more difficult for a man of his age.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said that the man was facing a custodial sentence but that he was entitled to bear in mind that a substantial jail term would occupy a greater portion of the remainder of his life.

He adjourned the matter to December and ordered that the Probation Services carry out a risk assessment on the man.

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