Wednesday 22 October 2014

Serial sex offender used false ID to open shop before abusing boy

Declan Brennan

Published 07/07/2014 | 13:25

Serial sex offender used false ID to open shop before abusing boy

A serial sex offender who used a false identity to open up a shop before sexually abusing a boy he had hired to work there has been sentenced to life in prison.

The 38-year-old groomed the vulnerable child and continued to abuse him after the boy’s mother had died.

At the sentence hearing, Mr Justice Paul Carney said that this case was so “grave and exceptional” that he believes his decision to impose a non mandatory life sentence will be upheld by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

He said: "The Court of Criminal Appeal used to have little or no tolerance for non mandatory life sentences. That has now changed where the circumstances are considered exceptional.”

At an earlier hearing on the case the judge commented: “This was one of the rare cases where the Court of Criminal Appeal might uphold a life sentence".

The abuser molested the 11-year-old victim systemically and regularly over a six month period. The abuse took place in the registered sex offender's bedsit at an address he had not disclosed to gardai despite being required to so under the law.

The Dublin man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court, to 14 counts of sexual assault and defilement at location in Dublin between December 2008 and June 2009.

The abuse continued after the man had attended the funeral of the child's mother.

The accused has 24 previous convictions including six for sexual offences. In 2000 he received a two year sentence for the sexual assault of a young boy. In 2011 he was jailed for the sexual assault of two boys.

He also has a conviction for a serious assault and for his failure to notify gardai of his address as a registered sex offender.

Mr Justice Carney imposed a life sentence for defilement. He imposed a 14 year sentence for the sex assault charges, to run concurrently. He said the man retains the right to review by parole board when the time comes.

Paul Coffey SC, prosecuting, said the man was aged 33 when he began grooming his victim who was vulnerable. He then began systematically and regularly sexually abusing him in a bedsit.

The man was required to tell gardaí his home address but had provided them with his aging parent’s city centre address. In reality he was renting the bedsit and operating the shop using his alias.

His real identity was discovered when gardaí came across the accused during a separate unrelated investigation. Concerns were then raised that he had groomed the victim.

In a victim impact report the boy told his abuser: "Because of you I feel very angry, I have no self confidence or self belief. Because of you I walk to school with my head down because I don't want people to look at me".

The victim's family said that the child now cried every night and described himself as a "dirty thing". They described the accused as a predator and said: "You murdered his soul".

Caroline Biggs SC, defending, told the court that when he was sentenced in 2000 her client did not engage with the sex offender treatment programmes but that in a 2011 psychological assessment he said he was concerned about his behaviour.

She said he is a psychologically vulnerable man who accepts the consequences of his attraction to young boys. She said that the appropriate therapeutic intervention might make him safe for society.

The judge rejected professional opinions that the abuser could be dealt with by community sanction as “naïve”.

He said: “In relation to the professional opinions I have been furnished with to the effect that the accused can be dealt with by community sanctions I reject as naive. Those giving such advice are not the ones who would face the ensuing public opprobrium were I to accept it.”

Passing sentence the judge listed six cases where non mandatory life sentences have now been upheld by the Court of Criminal Appeal and pointed out that he was the sentencing judge in most of them.

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