A DISTRAUGHT mother has spoken of the horrific impact on her child's life after a man pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the four-year-old girl.
Mr Justice Barry White said Sean Dunne (51), with an address at Rahoon Beak, Colbinstown, Co Kildare, had committed a "grave offence" against the young girl on May 29, 2010.
"You have destroyed the innocence of a young child and scarred her for life. She'll live with the memories of your behaviour through her life," he told Dunne, a separated father of two.
He handed him a 10-year sentence, with the final 18 months suspended, and placed his name on the sex offenders' list.
Speaking outside the Central Criminal Court, the mother of the young girl told how the past three "horrible" years had been filled with anger and stress, and they were now delighted with the sentence handed down.
She said they now hoped to rebuild their lives.
The young girl had been brought to court in April, before Dunne pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual assault.
In court she painted a picture of an outgoing young girl that all her classmates had once wanted as their friend.
"Now that same little girl plays on her own," she said, adding no one had turned up to her birthday party.
The young girl had travelled from the UK with her parents on a trip to Co Kildare when the attack took place. She had visited a house and had been left alone in the company of Dunne in the sitting room for 15 minutes.
Sergeant Brendan Costello, of Kilcock garda station, said Dunne had used a feather duster to sexually assault the girl before stopping for fear of getting caught.
This went on for about five minutes and he became sexually aroused and touched himself.
The family said the young girl acted oddly in the days following the attack and a few weeks later she told her mother what had happened.
Sgt Costello said Dunne denied it vehemently at first, saying she must have made it up and he was not alone with the victim.
He went on to admit it in the third and fourth interviews, where he described how he "turned into a monster" as they played. It was described in court that he wept, grovelled for forgiveness and appeared to be retching during the interviews.
Counsel for Dunne, Isobel Kennedy, said he had been disowned by his ex-wife and children as a result.