Monday 23 April 2018

Suspended sentence for nursing home worker who 'accidentally uploaded video of sexual assault on vulnerable resident to Facebook'

Facebook. Photo: Stock
Facebook. Photo: Stock

Declan Brennan

A care-worker who filmed two sexual assaults on vulnerable residents in a care home has received a suspended prison sentence of 18 months.

Peter Hilliard (54) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of sexual assault between February 2013 and June 2016 at Bloomfield nursing home, Stocking Lane, Rathfarnham, Dublin.

The offending came to light in June 2016 when a colleague of Hilliard's saw a video on Hilliard's Facebook page of him sexually assaulting an elderly resident.

Hilliard had recorded himself touching the woman’s breasts before putting the video up on Facebook, Garda Shane Whelan told the court. This video shows a male in the room at the same time of the assault.

The staff member alerted gardaí who went to Hilliard's house at Bolbrook Grove, Tallaght, Dublin and seized laptops and mobile phones.

During a digital search of this equipment investigators found a second video, filmed sometime after February 2013, in which Hilliard carried out a similar attack on another resident of the care home.

Gda Whelan told Dean Kelly BL, prosecuting, that Hilliard has no previous convictions. After his arrest he told gardaí he felt bad about his actions and said “I thought about killing myself”.

The court heard that at the time of the assaults Hilliard was suffering from sleep deprivation as a result of working so many hours.

He told gardaí that the mobile phone footage of the later assault was uploaded accidentally to Facebook because he didn't know how to operate his phone.

Kieran Kelly BL, defending, told the court that his client was sorry for his actions and that his family were standing by him.

Two victim impact statements were handed into the court but were not read out.

Judge Terence O'Sullivan noted that as a result of his actions Hilliard had lost his job and was now unemployable in the health sector. He said that he has engaged with counselling services since the offending came to light.

He suspended a sentence of 18 months on condition that Hilliard keep the peace and attend a weekly therapy group. He also ordered that Hilliard place himself under the supervision of the Probation Service for 18 months.

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