Tuesday 27 September 2016

Convicted sex offender has access to schools and creches

Ken Foy

Published 18/12/2015 | 07:22

The man had pleaded guilty to four counts of indecently assaulting his 11-year-old niece in 1977 (Stock picture)
The man had pleaded guilty to four counts of indecently assaulting his 11-year-old niece in 1977 (Stock picture)

A Dublin man who had a jail sentence for sexually assaulting his niece suspended by the Court of Appeal this week works in a job where he has regular access to children.

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Details of the 58-year-old man's employment were not outlined in court but it has since emerged he works in schools and creches even after being convicted of the sexual offences in July 2013.

The convicted offender, who spent three days in jail for indecently assaulting his niece 36 years earlier, had a two-year sentence suspended following a successful appeal on Monday.

The 58-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four counts of indecently assaulting his 11-year-old niece in 1977.

He was sentenced to two years imprisonment with the final 12 months suspended on July 29, 2013. On July 31, 2013, he was granted bail pending an appeal.

The man successfully appealed his sentence due to a combination of factors including time lapse, his youth at the time, and the manner in which he responded to the allegations. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal left unchanged his two-year sentence but suspended it.

The Herald has learnt that while the man is not a teacher or works directly with children, his job means he regularly works in an environment where children are present.

These children can range in age from three to 19 but the convicted sex offender does not have direct dealings with the children. Most of the work is in the greater Dublin area.

Judgment

Giving judgment, Mr Justice George Birmingham said the man was the injured party's uncle and the offending occured in her grandparent's home, his family home, when she was 10 going on 11 and he was 17 going on 18.

The injured party was close to her grandparents and would stay over from time to time, Mr Justice Birmingham said.

He would make his way into the bedroom where she was sleeping, get under the covers and would have her hold his erect penis. It's not clear, the judge said, whether there was actual masturbation.

She was told that if she told her parents they wouldn't believe her, the judge said.

They did believe her "immediately and unequivocally" when she told them some years later, he said.

Sometime between 1991 and 1993, the complainant reported to the gardai what had occurred but the contact stopped short of a formal complaint.

In 2000, she confronted her uncle in a public park. He accepted his crimes and apologised, making it clear that he would "never deny the abuse", Mr Justice Birmingham said.

As she was leaving that meeting with him, she said, "keep looking over your shoulder this might not be the end of the matter".

Some 12 years later and 35 years after the abuse had occurred, she made a formal complaint to the gardai.

The gardai made contact with the man and he attended by arrangement a local garda station where he made full admissions and followed this up with an early plea of guilty.

Difficult

Mr Justice Birmingham said this was "clearly a difficult case" for the sentencing judge and "this court too finds it difficult".

The offending was "very serious" involving the targeting of a young girl of 10 or 11 years of age and her abuser was a relative.

She was profoundly affected by the abuse and that impact has continued, the judge said.

Significant mitigating factors present include the fact the offending was committed by a juvenile and he made admissions, offered an apology and expressed remorse.

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