Friday 25 May 2018

Sex abuser avoids jail for assault on young swimmer

Fiona Ferguson

Notorious sex abuser Derry O'Rourke yesterday avoided a jail term for indecently assaulting a 14-year-old girl who may have been his first victim.

Judge Katherine Delahunt told the former swimming coach that she did not believe the community would be best served by returning him to prison for the offence, which occurred when the girl was a young student under his care in the early 1970s.

Diarmuid 'Derry' O'Rourke (64), who has an address at Barrack Street, Bailieborough, Co Cavan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to indecently assaulting the schoolgirl on dates between September 1971 and March 1972.

The abuser was jailed for 12 years in 1998 for sexual assault, indecent assault and statutory rape of children. He received further sentences in 2000 and 2005 for sexual abuse of children between the 1970s and 1992. He was released three-and-a-half years ago.

The victim came forward after seeing media publicity surrounding O'Rourke's convictions and made a complaint to gardai in 2008. Judge Katherine Delahunt said it appeared that these were probably the first offences O'Rourke committed.

She noted that he was under "intensive supervision" since his release and was taking care not to put himself in situations where there would be "temptation".

She imposed a three-year sentence, suspended for six years on condition he continue to follow all directions of the probation service. He is already on the sex offenders' register.

Garda Edward Vaughan said that the victim was in second year when O'Rourke became her swimming instructor. On one occasion he came up behind her in the pool, put his hand inside her swimming suit and felt her breast.


The abuse continued over a six-month period. On one occasion he asked her to put her hand down his trousers but she refused. The girl did not tell anybody about the abuse and, despite having a great love of sport, she gave up swimming and her interaction with O'Rourke ended.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said the abuse had a huge effect on her life and she felt "shame, humiliation and grief". She believed she had underachieved at school because of the abuse.

The court also received a probation report detailing O'Rourke's treatment and supervision.

Irish Independent

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