Man jailed for raping teenage girl on church grounds
A man who raped a 13-year-old girl after chasing her in the grounds of a church has been sentenced to nine years, 168 days in prison.
The Central Criminal Court heard the man continued to harass the child for years after the offence, telling her he had connections with gardaí and "could not be touched".
The 37-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the victim's identity, denied a single count of raping the schoolgirl on a date between June and August 2011. He was convicted after trial by jury earlier this year.
The complainant gave birth to a child when she was aged 16 and DNA testing proved the accused was the father. He subsequently pleaded guilty to defilement. The complainant since told gardaí the defilement was coercive.
Passing sentence yesterday, Mr Justice Alexander Owens said he considered the man "a dangerous sexual predator" with a long history of previous sexual offending and noted he will be released while still a relatively young man.
Mr Justice Owens ordered that the man undergo a period of seven years' post-release supervision on a number of strict conditions, including that he make no contact with anyone aged under 18 and abstain from loitering near any place where children congregate.
In a victim impact statement read out on her behalf, the now 20-year-old complainant said the man had ruined her life.
"He took my childhood, my worth, my confidence, my friends, my family," she wrote.
The woman said although she was raped eight years ago, she relives it every day, "like it happened yesterday".
She has suffered severe anxiety since the attack and requires medication.
"He took my privacy, my intimacy, my safety and my own voice," the victim wrote, adding the attack continued to affect her relationship and she felt she could never give her trust to her partner.
The accused has 37 previous convictions of which 17 are for sexual offences, including the defilement charge.