Sunday 18 February 2018

Dad-of-three had sex with babysitter (14) on car bonnet

Judge Tony Hunt sentenced the man to nine years in prison
Judge Tony Hunt sentenced the man to nine years in prison

Brian McDonald

A MARRIED father-of-three who seduced a 14-year-old schoolgirl has been given a nine-year prison sentence.

The 32-year-old west of Ireland man "groomed" the girl, mainly by text messaging, before later going on to have a series of sexual encounters with the child over a five-month period.

The secret encounters – almost all of which took place at a remote location – developed to full sex, including on the bonnet of a car.

He had pleaded guilty to six charges of defilement of a child and one count of sexual assault of a child in 2011. Neither of the parties can be identified, by court order.

Roscommon Circuit Criminal Court was told in March that the girl's family had become friendly with the man and his family through their church, and she had begun babysitting and staying over at his home. He told her she looked sexy, and arranged by text to kiss her.

He texted the girl a picture of his private parts and asked her to send him a picture of her breasts. She agreed.

The relationship was discovered by the girl's mother in July 2011, when she questioned her about her texting and discovered the intimate messages.

The matter was reported to gardai after the mother realised that the number being texted was the same number for the man for whom her daughter had been babysitting.

The man told the court, through his legal team, that he was 'absolutely ashamed' of his behaviour. His offending had taken place while he was breaking up with his wife, and he had started "getting attention from an attractive girl – I was happy", he said.

Passing sentence yesterday, Judge Tony Hunt said that the man had taken advantage of someone who was less than half his age.

The judge said that the girl appeared to be under the impression that she was in "some kind of relationship" with the man, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Noting that the encounters mostly took place in public, Judge Hunt said that they might well have continued but for a vigilant parent.

The girl should have been allowed to develop sexually, in an appropriate manner, but he had denied her that, said Judge Hunt.

The judge imposed a nine-year sentence, but suspended the final three years for a period of three years. He ordered the man to comply with post-release supervision for 12 months.

Irish Independent

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