independent

Thursday 2 October 2014

Four and half years in jail for 'horrific' abuse

Published 09/08/2014 | 00:00

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John Honan outside Tralee courthouse last Thursday

A JUDGE described as 'horrific' some of the abuse perpetrated by a now elderly man on four children in north Kerry during a 10-year period up until 1999.

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John Honan (77) was jailed for four-and-a-half years by Judge Ray Fullam at Tralee Circuit Court on Thursday on 27 counts of indecent assault and sexual assault he perpretrated against two boys and two girls in north Kerry between 1989 and 1999.

At Thursday's sentencing, the court heard that one of the boys was forced to perform oral sex on him and that one of the girls was forced to masturbate him to the point of 'physical exhaustion'.

All four victims said their adult lives had been shattered by the abuse they suffered at the hands of Honan in childhood.

John Honan was found guilty of the 27 indecent and sexual assault offences by a jury on May 22 last following a trial that lasted almost a month.

Detective Garda Paul Walsh who investigated the case outlined how the offences took place during visits Honan made to north Kerry from his permanent address in the UK during the 10-year period.

Judge Fullam found the evidence in the case showed how Honan had lured the eldest of his two male victims into a relationship: "The evidence was that he was groomed or enticed into a relationship with the accused who gave him pornographic magazines, cigarettes, alcohol and clothes. The first acts led onto masturbation and, later, onto oral sex. The accused explained to [the boy] that this was a normal part of growing up and that this was harmless fun," the judge said in outlining the case evidence.

Honan began his abuse of one of his female victims by kissing her, ultimately leading to his gratification in getting the girl to masturbate him, Judge Fullam said on Thursday. Again, Honan assured his victim that this was 'normal' saying it 'happened in every house'.

"My note of evidence was that this form of abuse continued notwithstanding the fact that [the girl] was exhausted from attempting to perform the masturbation of the accused," Judge Fullam said.

"The evidence of the four victims as stated in the victim impact statements spoke of a breach of trust, the taking advantage of difficult home lives, being unable to concentrate in school and being told all of these activities were normal. The victim impact statements spoke of difficulties with relationships and in the case of [the eldest of the two male victims] a fear of going into public toilets where other men are present," the judge said.

He found their childhoods had been damaged and that the victims have been forced to live 'with long-lasting pain'. "The court must take into account the precise nature of the abuse. The details of the offences in [the eldest male victim's] case are horrific. He was subjected to performing oral sex and masturbating the accused," the judge said.

Honan's crimes against this victim merited a seven-year sentence. However, Judge Fullam said he was obliged to take into the account the convicted man's personal circumstances.

The court heard that Honan is plagued by ill-health, suffering from hypertension, diabetes, asthma, gout and a hernia as well having a history of depression and anxiety. Given these circumstances, Judge Fullam sentenced Honan to four-and-a-half years for his abuse of the eldest male victim; four years for his abuse of one of the female victims; and one year and nine months for his abuse of the other female and of the other male. The judge applied the sentences concurrently, saying the 77-year-old should serve no more than four-and-a-half years in jail.

The court heard the defendant was not likely to reoffend. Judge Fullam said that the 'impact of prison on such a person is obvious'.

Kerryman

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