Sunday 16 December 2018

Care-home worker who filmed abuse and uploaded video to social media avoids prison term

The case was brought before the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
The case was brought before the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Declan Brennan

A care worker who filmed two sexual assaults on vulnerable residents in a home has avoided a jail term.

Peter Hilliard (54) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of sexual assault between February 2013 and June 2016 at Bloomfield nursing home, Stocking Lane, Rathfarnham, Dublin. He was given a suspended prison sentence of 18 months yesterday.

The offences came to light in June 2016, when a colleague of Hilliard's saw a video on the accused's Facebook page of him sexually assaulting an elderly resident.

Hilliard had recorded himself touching the woman's breasts before putting the video up on Facebook, Garda Shane Whelan told the court.

This video shows a male in the room at the same time of the assault.

The staff member alerted gardaí, who went to Hilliard's house at Bolbrook Grove, Tallaght, Dublin, and seized laptops and mobile phones.

During a digital search of this equipment, investigators found a second video, filmed some time after February 2013, in which Hilliard carried out a similar attack on another resident of the care home.

Garda Whelan told Dean Kelly BL, prosecuting, that Hilliard had no previous convictions.

After his arrest, he told gardaí he felt bad about his actions. "I thought about killing myself," he said.

The court heard that at the time of the assaults Hilliard was suffering from sleep deprivation as a result of working so many hours.

He told gardaí the mobile phone footage of the later assault was uploaded accidentally to Facebook because he didn't know how to operate his phone.

Kieran Kelly, defending counsel, told the court his client was sorry for his actions and that his family were standing by him.

Two victim-impact statements were handed into the court but were not read out.

Judge Terence O'Sullivan noted that as a result of his actions Hilliard had lost his job and was now unemployable in the health sector.

The judge said that Hilliard had engaged with counselling services since the offending came to light.

He suspended a sentence of 18 months on condition that Hilliard keep the peace and attend a weekly therapy group.

He also ordered that Hilliard place himself under the supervision of the Probation Service for 18 months.

Irish Independent

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