Serial sex offender who groomed vulnerable boy gets life sentence
A SERIAL sex offender who used a false identity to open up a shop before sexually abusing a boy he had hired to work there, has been sentenced to life in prison.
The 38-year-old groomed the vulnerable child and continued to abuse him after the 11-year-old boy's mother had died.
At the sentence hearing, Mr Justice Paul Carney said that this case was so "grave and exceptional" that he believes his decision to impose a non-mandatory life sentence will be upheld by the Court of Criminal Appeal.
"The Court of Criminal Appeal used to have little or no tolerance for non-mandatory life sentences," he said. "That has now changed where the circumstances are considered exceptional."
The abuser molested the victim systematically and regularly over a six-month period. The abuse took place in the registered sex offender's bedsit at an address he had not disclosed to gardai despite being required to so under the law.
The Dublin man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court, to 14 counts of sexual assault and defilement between December 2008 and June 2009.
The abuse continued after the man had attended the funeral of the child's mother.
The accused has 24 previous convictions including six for sexual offences. In 2000, he received a two-year sentence for the sexual assault of a young boy. In 2011, he was jailed for the sexual assault of two boys.
Mr Justice Carney imposed a life sentence for defilement. He imposed a 14-year sentence for the sex assault charges, to run concurrently. He said the man retains the right to review by the parole board.
Paul Coffey SC, prosecuting, said the man was aged 33 when he began grooming his victim, who was vulnerable. He then began systematically and regularly sexually abusing him.
The man was required to tell gardai his home address but had provided them with his aging parent's city centre address. In reality, he was renting the bedsit and operating the shop using his alias. Concerns were raised that he had groomed the victim when gardai came across the accused during a separate unrelated investigation.
In a victim impact report, the boy told his abuser: "Because of you I feel very angry, I have no self-confidence or self-belief. Because of you I walk to school with my head down because I don't want people to look at me".
The victim's family said that the child now cried every night and described himself as a "dirty thing". They described the accused as a predator and said: "You murdered his soul."
Caroline Biggs SC, defending, told the court that when he was sentenced in 2000 her client did not engage with the sex offender treatment programmes but that in a 2011 psychological assessment he said he was concerned about his behaviour.
She said he was a psychologically vulnerable man who accepts the consequences of his of his attraction to young boys. She said that the appropriate therapeutic intervention might make him safe for society.
The judge rejected professional opinions that the abuser could be dealt with by community sanction as "naive".
Passing sentence, the judge listed six cases where non-mandatory life sentences have now been upheld by the Court of Criminal Appeal and pointed out that he was the sentencing judge in most of them.