A Wicklow man has been jailed for one year for sexually abusing two of his daughter’s friends as they played in his house.
The offences came to light after one of the girls made a complaint after a Stay safe class in her school.
The 31 year old accused, who cannot be named to protect the victim’s identities, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of sexual abuse on a unspecified date sometime in 2010.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring suspended the last 18 months of a two and a half year prison term on condition that he stay under the supervision of the Probation Services for 18 months after his release.
She said that this was not the first time the Stay Safe programme has allowed children to make complaints of abuse and that the value of the programme cannot be overstated.
A garda told the court that the girls, who were aged seven and nine at the time were playing with his daughter in his bedroom. The man began playing “the airplane game” with them which involved them balancing on his chest or stomach.
They later said he then moved them down to his genital area and that they could feel his penis outside his clothes.
The accused was arrested on June 15, 2012 and admitted playing with them but said it was completely innocent in nature.
He initially took a trial date but later entered a guilty plea. The court heard this was of significant relief to the girls.
One of the girls said in her victim impact report that she now feels ashamed about the incident. Judge Ring said she would like the girl to be told she did the right thing and has nothing to be feel ashamed of.
The man’s defence counsel, Peter Finlay SC, presented evidence that he is the sole carer for his child and lives a lonely life.
Counsel added that the authorities have no child protection concerns about his own daughter but that he has consented to be monitored by them.