Tuesday 20 March 2018

Man (82) jailed for sexually abusing girl 50 years ago

A man in his 80s has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for sexually abusing a young girl 50 years ago.

Jack Donoghue (82), Holdenstown, Baltinglass, County Wicklow, appeared in Wicklow Circuit Court last Friday for sentencing after previously entering a plea of guilty.

The court heard that the victim was eight years old at the time of the offences.

The woman, who is now in her 50s, described the assault to gardaí in a statement. She said that the man would pull her in between his legs in the sitting room or in the yard.

'He always did it to me when nobody else was there,' she told gardaí. She said that he would touch her genitals, and force her to touch his.

The woman said that she recalled her mother coming into the sitting room the last time it happened, and she seemed shocked.

'What he did to me has been troubling me all my life,' the woman said.

State prosecutor Paul Murray told the court that the woman went to counselling a few years ago. 'When I see him I feel so hurt that he's got away with what he's done,' she said in her statement.

She was worried that if she spoke to her parents about what had happened, their health would suffer and her siblings would blame her.

Her mother told gardaí that she did recall an incident. She said she saw bruises on the girl's neck and the child had told her mother that Jack Donoghue had sucked her on the neck.

The mother told her husband, and they confronted the defendant.

Mr Murray read out a victim impact statement to the court. In it, the victim said that the assaults have left a deep impact on her. She won't let her grandchildren out of her sight if they are in her care.

Her parents had been very supportive, she said, despite her fears regarding their health.

'Only people who have been abused would know what I've gone through,' she said in her statement. 'I pray every day for all the children in the world, that they don't get abused.'

Donoghue attended Baltinglass Garda Station voluntarily in 2015. He admitted what had happened and said he felt it went on for about a year and a half.

'I really regret it,' he said. 'I told her mother and father I was sorry.'

Judge Michael O'Shea said that the girl was a vulnerable, innocent, young child and the defendant had been in a position of trust.

'He took her innocence and he robbed her of her childhood,' he said. 'She should have been entitled to grow up in a carefree manner and he interfered with that.'

Judge O'Shea sentenced Donoghue to two years in prison, with six months suspended.

Bray People