Man gets five years for assault of two young boys he met in park
A MAN was given a five-year sentence yesterday for sexually assaulting two 11-year-old boys while he was on the sex offenders' register following a similar offence.
Eric Thomas (35), of Blackhall Street, Dublin 7, pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of the two boys at a location in Dublin on August 23, 2007.
Judge Desmond Hogan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court suspended the last year of the sentence and ordered that Thomas be put on the sex offenders' register for 10 years.
He had previously been on the register from August 2003 to December 2009, after he sexually assaulted a nine-year-old boy.
The court heard that Thomas had 11 previous convictions in total. In 2000, he was convicted for sexually assaulting a boy and seriously assaulting another person, for which he was jailed for a total of five years in consecutive sentences.
Judge Hogan imposed a condition that Thomas undergo a sex offenders' treatment programme upon his release.
The judge said he further required that Thomas be supervised by the probation service "for his own benefit and the benefit of society".
Thomas asked one of the boys to go fishing with him. The child said he could not but would do so on the following day.
The next day, the boys met the man, got into his white van and drove to Wicklow.
They ended up in a forest, where Thomas then asked the two boys "to play a game of dares".
He told the children "to hold each other's privates for 10 seconds" and then asked one of the boys "to touch him outside his clothes."
Thomas made the other boy kiss him and pushed his hand down his trousers.
One of the boys' mothers became worried about her son's whereabouts and went to the gardai, who stopped Thomas's van in Dublin.
He was arrested on August 25, 2007. When interviewed, he admitted to meeting the boys in the park and bringing them to Burger King.
John Fitzgerald, defending, said Thomas suffered from depression, had recently tried to self-harm and had himself been a victim of sexual abuse as a child.
He told the court that his client wanted to apologise to the two boys, who were present in court but who cannot be named for legal reasons.
He said Thomas was willing to go on a sex offenders' treatment programme and that this had not previously been available to him.