Tuesday 20 August 2019

Man forced girl (14) into sex act after he picked her up from disco

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Stock picture

Isabel Hayes

A man who pleaded guilty to defilement of a 14-year-old girl after he picked her up from a teenage disco will be sentenced in two weeks.

The then 19-year-old man picked up the drunk teenager at her request outside the Wesley disco in Donnybrook before he had her give him oral sex, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard yesterday.

The 21-year-old man, who can't be named to protect the identity of his victim, pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in a sexual act with an underage girl at an address in Dublin on July 17, 2015. The court heard he has intellectual difficulties and he was described in court as “naive”.

He will be sentenced on November 24.

Garda Michael Lynch told Gerardine Small BL, defending, that on the night in question, the victim went to the teenage disco with two of her friends. She drank some vodka before going in and began to feel increasingly sick over the course of the night.

The court heard the girl was too afraid to call her mother and instead contacted the man, a Facebook acquaintance, and asked him to pick her up. “He was the only person she knew who had a car,” Gda Lynch said.

The man picked up the girl outside the disco and drove her around for some time, the court heard. She fell asleep before waking up when he stopped the car.

The man then pulled the girl's head down to his lap and put his penis in her mouth. The girl got sick at one point and the man then took her hand and had her masturbate him.

Afterwards, the pair drove to McDonalds before the man eventually dropped her home. A family member found the girl crying on the stairs of her home and her parents were informed. A complaint was made to gardaí and the man was arrested a few days later.

The man admitted to gardaí that he engaged in sexual activity with the girl after picking her up from the disco and he acknowledged that he knew she was only 14.

The court heard he texted the girl and apologised for his actions before being interviewed by gardaí. He has no previous convictions.

A victim impact statement by the girl was handed up to Judge Melanie Greally. It was not read out in court.

Defence counsel, Caroline Biggs SC, told the court that two families had been affected by the incident and the man's family had taken the matter very seriously.

A psychiatric report handed up to court showed the man, now aged 21, has intellectual difficulties and a borderline learning disability. In the wake of the offence, he attempted suicide. He is attending counselling and is currently on anti-depressants.

“After this offence, he was so disturbed by his own actions, and the effects of those actions, that he attempted to end his own life,” Ms Biggs said. She said her client had expressed “guilt and regret” at what happened.

Gda Lynch agreed with defence counsel that the man was a “naive individual”.

In a letter handed up to court, the man's father, who was in court to support his son, said he was not a bad person. He has no history of alcohol or drug abuse, the court heard.

“It is absolutely recognised by (the man) that he has caused enormous damage to (the victim) and he regrets completely his actions on the night in question,” Ms Biggs said. She added the man was a person who “made a mistake”.

She said it was not a case involving a “predatory man” waiting outside a disco for young girls.

“It was an opportunistic offence committed by a 19-year-old, but a 19-year-old who is described as naive, a 19-year-old with intellectual difficulties,” Ms Biggs said.

She urged Judge Greally to consider imposing a non-custodial sentence. Adjourning the case, Judge Greally said she needed time to consider the issues.

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