A TIPPERARY man who pulled down his friend’s daughter’s trousers in “a moment of madness” after he discovered the 15-year-old in his bed has been given a three year sentence.
The 49-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, had denied both a charge of rape and sexual assault at his home on February 9, 2009.
He was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury of sexually assaulting the girl last December but the jury failed to reach a verdict on the charge of rape.
Mr Justice Paul Carney said he was taking into account the gravity of the offence, the breach of trust and the act of supplying drink to a 15-year-old as aggravating factors while noting the man’s previous good character and strong work ethic as mitigating factors.
Mr Justice Carney imposed a three year sentence and suspended the final year on strict conditions including that he keep away from his victim in perpetuity. The man was registered a sex offender.
A local garda told John O’Kelly SC, prosecuting, that the girl told gardaí that she had been drinking in the man’s apartment that night with friends when he returned drunk and gave her more alcohol.
She said the teenager claimed she had fallen asleep in a chair but woke up in the man’s bed. She had no top or bra on and the man was standing naked by the bed.
The girl then went back to the sitting room to find her friends but they had left. She returned to the man’s bedroom to get her clothes and claimed he pushed her down on the bed and pulled down her bottoms.
The garda agreed with Mr O’Kelly that the man was extremely co-operative with gardaí but gave a different account of what happened. He said he was heavily intoxicated and did not have a great memory of the incident.
He told gardaí in interview that when he went into his bedroom the teenager was already there in the bed.
He denied taking her top off but admitted that he pulled down her bottoms. He said he “came to his senses” and stopped.
The garda said the man has no previous convictions, has since moved to County Waterford and has no further contact with the family.
Mr O’Kelly told Mr Justice Carney the teenager did not make a victim impact report as she just wanted to move on with her life but her mother was present in court.
He said the Director of Public Prosecutions viewed the offence at the lower range of the mid-range of sexual assaults on a child as it had not been violent and was not a case of repeated abuse.
Counsel submitted that there was a “breach of trust” involved because the victim was the man’s friend’s daughter.
The garda agreed with John McCarthy SC, defending, that his client told gardaí it was “a moment of madness”.
She accepted he was heavily intoxicated on the night but has since started to deal with his drinking problem.
Mr McCarthy submitted that his client is not a danger to society and is unlikely to come before the courts again.