Saturday 20 January 2018

Man who raped and sexually assaulted two children - one of whom has Down Syndrome - jailed

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Alison O'Riordan and Nicola Donnelly

A Wicklow man who raped and sexually assaulted two children, one of whom has Down Syndrome has been sentenced to six years.

The 18-year-old man pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to four counts of rape, one count of threatening to kill and one count of sexual assault, between June 20 2013 and December 31, 2014.

Justice Patrick McCarthy said the offences were “of the utmost gravity when offences of this class are committed on children and one with mental disabilities.” He noted that the man made a threat to kill one victim in order to prevent him reporting the crimes.`

Anne Rowland BL, prosecuting, said that the first victim had speech and language difficulties and some developmental issues.

The mother of the young boy went to a garda station on July 8, 2014 when a friend of her son’s came to her and told her he had been raped.

The sexual offences occurred when both boys were playing in a field and the ball they were passing around went into a ditch.

“The accused said he didn’t speak to the victim during the offence and the whole thing lasted five minutes. He said if he told anyone he would kill him,” said Ms Rowland.

The accused man voluntarily came to the garda station on August 18, 2014 with his mother, where he made full admissions to raping the boy on two occasions.

In her victim impact statement the mother of the boy said she first noticed there was something wrong with her son when he started taking extra showers and washing himself extensively in an unnatural manner in 2013.

When she asked him about his behaviour, he told her that he had been raped twice by the accused and wanted to clean himself.

The court heard that a “permanent scar” has been left on her son. In a victim impact report, the mother said her young son “is now undergoing treatment and lashes out” at her and he was “not the boy she remembers from a few years ago.”

“He was ten years of age when he was first raped and 11 when he was raped for the second time. I feel he will never recover from this. I feel helpless and guilty and that I should have noticed something was wrong with him the previous year,” the mother stated in a victim impact report stated.

The second victim was a girl with Down Syndrome. On April 5 2015, her mother was helping her shower when she heard her daughter say the accused had kissed her.

“She said he had put his tongue in her mouth and she did not like it,” said counsel. The accused knew the victim for a while and he told her she was her boyfriend so she would not tell anyone. He knew she had special needs, the court heard.

The girls parents said in their victim impact statement that their daughter’s “loving nature” had been “snapped away from her” by a person who knew her circumstances, disability and routine.

“He knew what he was doing and the damage he would do. She is self-harming now a lot and has a total distrust of the male sex. Our hearts have been ripped apart,” read Ms Rowland.

Defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC, said his client was 15 years old when he began offending. He has no previous convictions and has since attempted to take his own life as a result of his shame and disgust.

His parents disowned him when he made full admissions. Counsel told the court he was instructed to apologise unreservedly to the court for his client’s behaviour.

The court heard that medical personnel who had treated him, described him as being naïve and of an immature disposition.

Counsel said that while he is doing well in jail, there are concerns about the process that is in place for when he ultimately leaves prison.

Justice McCarthy sentenced the defendant to three years for the offences on each victim to run consecutively and ordered he undergoes five years post-release supervision and undertake sexual offenders therapeutic courses.

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