Monday 20 November 2017

Paedophile stepped up attacks after HSE course for offenders

Greg Harkin

A PREDATORY paedophile caught sexually abusing a four-year-old girl went on to abuse her and two boys for three more years despite being referred to a HSE programme for sex offenders.

The 23-year-old child abuser is now serving five years in prison for what a judge described as "appalling" attacks on his own relatives, one of them a girl aged just four.

Some details emerged during a sentencing hearing 10 days ago about how the paedophile threatened his brother and two young cousins repeatedly over a three-year period.

Sex attacks took place weekly, but a defence lawyer said his client – who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victims – was referred for counselling after the girl had made a complaint when she was aged just four.

Now the Irish Independent has learned that the paedophile had been sent on a course provided by an agency within the HSE system.

Despite the role of the HSE and social workers, the paedophile later returned to the family home, where he had opportunities to carry out more attacks, including on the girl, his young cousin.

The other victims included a male cousin and the paedophile's young brother.

The boys were raped.

The attacks took place at least once each week between July 2007 and February 2011, more than 90pc of them after the authorities had investigated the attack on the girl.

SUFFERED

The paedophile was sent on a course run by Cosc, an internal HSE unit, which says it offers "assessment and treatment for adults who have sexually harmed children".

Counsellors work with paedophiles, whether they have been convicted or not. The course also offers "support" to partners of suspected paedophiles and family members.

"It is a scandalous case," admitted one HSE insider.

"Here we have one of the most sickening cases of sexual abuse inside a family and this man returned to the family home and to the homes of relatives and continued his abuse of the girl and expanded the number of victims."

The paedophile readily confessed to his crimes and admitted 25 sample sexual-assault charges.

The court heard that he kept his victims silent for three more years with a combination of threats and bribes.

He was only caught for the second time when an older cousin saw explicit text messages on his mobile phone and she called gardai.

At the sentencing hearing at Letterkenny Circuit Court in Co Donegal, the sex offender's counsel Desmond Murphy SC, said he knew he was probably going against "normal jurisprudence" when he described his own client as "evil".

Judge John O'Hagan jailed the man for five years, ordered him to report to the probation service for five years following his release and put him on the sex offenders' register for life.

The judge said there was something in the man's genes which made him a danger to the public.

It took the HSE six days to respond to the Irish Independent on a series of questions on the case.

But it then refused to comment on the matter, saying it was policy not to do so in "individual cases".

However, it is understood that the case is now the subject of an internal review.

"This case is heart-breaking," admitted another insider, who added: "The young girl abused at the start of all of this raised the alarm and suffered for three more years, during which time her brother and a cousin were also abused."

Irish Independent

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