Friday 19 January 2018

Man who sexually abused young girl staying in his house to be sentenced in May

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

Fiona Ferguson

A Meath man who sexually abused a young girl staying in his house will be sentenced in May.

The 37-year-old man, who can not be named to protect his victim's identity, was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury in January of sexual assault and anal rape of the girl at his family home on dates between 1999 and 2001. The girl was aged between 12 and 14 at the time.

In her victim impact statement the woman described how the accused man had taken away her innocence and the chance of her having a normal childhood. She had not initially told anyone as she felt to blame but after becoming a mother decided she had to protect her child and others.

The court heard that the man, who has no previous convictions, did not accept the guilty verdicts.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt adjourned sentencing until May to allow a probation report be completed.

The court will hear a plea in mitigation on behalf of the accused man on the next date.

A local garda told Caroline Biggs SC, prosecuting, that the child's mother was in a relationship with the accused man's father and they would sometimes stay at the house. The girl's mother had a significant difficulty with alcohol and would drink downstairs with her partner or go socialising.

The accused man began the sexual assaults in 1999 in the bedroom where the girl was sleeping. He put his hand on her leg, asked if she was nervous and then rubbed her vagina for a few minutes.

She also described digital penetration by the accused and how that made her feel sore. The accused man later began grabbing her hand and placing it on his penis, forcing her to masturbate him.

The girl described how a few months after the sexual assaults began the accused man had put his penis into her anus. She said it was painful and this had been the only time she cried.

The sexual assaults continued for some time before petering out. The girl took steps to make sure she was not in the accused man's presence by sleeping downstairs or in friend's house.

The woman said she never told anyone because she felt embarrassed and ashamed. She said she felt to blame for not saying no. She made a complaint to gardai in 2011.

The accused man was interviewed by gardai and denied any sexual misconduct.

In her victim impact statement the woman said she felt “disgusting” and that she deserved no happiness. She described how she had turned to alcohol and drugs.

She said she was constantly reminded of the abuse through a movie or a smell. She was undergoing counselling and taking medication for anxiety.

Derek Kenneally SC, defending, handed in a medical report outlining his client was receiving treatment for anxiety and stress. He also handed in testimonials, largely from the man's family.

He told Judge Hunt he would deliver his full plea in mitigation after receiving the probation report.

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