Saturday 25 March 2017

Five convicted of sexually assaulting troubled girl

Anita Guidera

BY the start of her second year in secondary school, a 13-year-old girl from a small rural town in Co Donegal claimed to have had sex 59 times with 22 different men.

She began having sex at 12, comparing notes with older friends, keeping a detailed diary of her sexual encounters and a 'period chart' so she could identify the father if she became pregnant.

Matters came to a head when Garda Liam Feeney began investigating reports that she had been having sex with two named individuals, but the number of suspects just kept growing.

Her diary, lists and drawings became part of the garda investigation which continued for several years.

Now aged 20, she has appeared at the court cases of six men charged with sexually assaulting her as a child.

In June 2009, Kenneth McDonald (34), from Lawne Park, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, was jailed for three years on four charges of sexually assaulting the girl in 2003 when she was 13 and he was 28.

Last June, father of three, Paul Gilmore (30), from Lawne Park, Ballyshannon, was jailed for nine months after pleading guilty to three sample charges of sexually assaulting the girl when he was 23 years old.

The following month, Leo Forde (26), formerly of Rathnenney, Laghey, Co Donegal, was jailed for two years for three sexual assaults on the 13-year-old when he was aged 19.

Also last July, Colin Reynolds (27), from Highfield, Ballyshannon, was given a suspended jail sentence for sexually assaulting the girl just weeks after her confirmation when she was 12 and he was 19.

Ronan Lowther(25) of Mountcharles, Co Donegal, also received a suspended sentence for a assaulting the girl when he was 18 and she was 12.

In a victim impact statement, the young woman said she had believed the men she was having sex with were her boyfriends and that they loved her.

"I hated my life and I wanted to die. I was a child. I missed out on normal things. I do not feel raped or that anything was forced on me. I feel robbed of my childhood," she said.

Irish Independent

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