Ex-music teacher gets two years for 1987 sex assault
A FORMER music teacher has been sentenced to two years in jail with one suspended for sexually assaulting a pupil at the accused's Co Meath home 25 years ago.
Breffni O'Rourke (64), who is now living in Ardglass Estate, Ferrybank, Co Waterford, was convicted by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury in February on one charge of indecent assault of the girl in June 1987. He had pleaded not guilty to the offence.
Judge Desmond Hogan said he was "deeply cognisant of the breach of trust that surrounds this case" but added that the law required that he take into account the "lapse of time" between when the offence occurred and when it was dealt with by the court.
"The injured party was very young at the time and to a certain extent he had control over her as her music teacher. The trust that had been imposed on him by her parents was broken," the judge said before he suspended the last 12 months of the term, taking into account O'Rourke's previous good character.
Sergeant Karen Curley told Karen O'Connor BL, prosecuting, the victim was aged nine or 10 at the time of the offence.
She said O'Rourke had taught traditional Irish music to the victim and her family.
The court was told that O'Rourke was aged 39 at the time of the offence, which took place at his home in Co Meath.
O'Rourke -- a married man -- initially denied any wrongdoing and denied the allegation of indecent assault but has co-operated with gardai.
In her victim impact statement, the woman said she found it difficult to put into words what she went through when she was a child.
"This evil act was a few brief moments of self gratification but it has destroyed my life. I was robbed of my childhood and I will never get that back," she said.
Defence counsel Paul Greene SC indicated that his client does not accept the jury's verdict and intends to appeal his conviction.