Father of two avoids prison for affair with girl (15)
A YOUNG father who had an affair with the 15-year-old daughter of a neighbour escaped jail yesterday when a judge suspended a three-year prison sentence.
The man -- who cannot be named for legal reasons -- pleaded guilty before Cork Circuit Criminal Court to seven counts of engaging in sexual contact with an underage person contrary to the Sex Offences Act (2006).
Judge Patrick Moran was told that the 32-year-old father of two began a non-sexual relationship with the then 15-year-old girl in early 2008.
She lived near his family home and gardai were later told that the man had been fully aware of the fact she was only 15 years old.
After the man's wife and the girl's family became aware of the relationship, the man was pressed to end his contacts with the teen.
However, in October 2008, contact was resumed between the girl and the man.
This time, their relationship escalated to a sexual level and continued for two months.
In November, the teenager told the man that she felt the relationship was wrong and wanted to end it.
Her family then became aware of what had happened between them.
The man's wife also found out and she immediately threw him out of the family home.
Gardai were contacted and the man readily admitted the details of what had happened, the court was told.
He co-operated fully with gardai, indicated at an early stage that he would plead guilty and expressed deep remorse for what had happened.
The judge was told that the man came from a difficult personal background and was not capable of intellectually exploiting the teenage girl.
He had since moved out of the area to avoid any chance of contact with the girl and has even arranged to meet his children on regular scheduled visits some distance from their home.
The court heard that the girl was making a good recovery and was now sitting her Leaving Certificate.
The judge warned the man that it was a very serious matter and that children needed to be protected from such sexual contact with adults.
However, he said he accepted that the man was genuinely remorseful and that he had done everything possible to co-operate with gardai.
The judge imposed a three-year suspended prison sentence and directed that the man be listed on the Sex Offenders' Register for a period of five years.
His name and details of where the offences occurred cannot be published to protect the identity of the victim.