Convicted child abuser walks free from court

Accalimed writer Desmond Hogan outside Tralee Courthouse in March of last year. On Monday he received a two-year suspended sentence for sexually abusing a teenage boy in Ballybunion. Credit: Photo by Domnick Walsh
Accalimed writer Desmond Hogan outside Tralee Courthouse in March of last year. On Monday he received a two-year suspended sentence for sexually abusing a teenage boy in Ballybunion. Credit: Photo by Domnick Walsh


THE head of the Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse centre has harshly criticised the leniency of the sentence imposed on writer Desmond Hogan who this week received a two-year suspended sentence for sexually assaulting a Kerry teen with special needs in 2006.

Vera O'Leary, who is also chairperson of the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland said she was "gravely concerned" that anyone who had committed such an offence would be released onto the streets.

"I'm as concerned as any member of the public that another convicted sex offender has been released. It highlights the leniency of sentencing for sexual offences," she said.

"Desmond Hogan was described as having a moderate to low risk of reoffending. Whether low or moderate there he is still a risk and the bottom line is children have to be protected," said Vera O'Leary. "He has been placed on the sexual offenders register. Being on the register is not enough to stop someone reoffending." CONVICTED child abuser Desmond Hogan, who admitted to sexually assaulting a teen boy with special needs in Kerry three years ago, has walked free from court.

Hogan, an acclaimed writer, received a twoyear suspended sentence from Judge Carroll Moran at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court for sexually assaulting the boy at his then home in Ballybunion in November 2006.

Judge Moran called the case 'complex' and said society would be better served if Hogan continued treatment rather than be sent to jail.

Hogan had pleaded guilty to the offence in July 2008 but sentencing in the case was adjourned at least five times to allow Hogan undergo assessment and treatment at the Granada Institute in Dublin.

Judge Moran described Desmond Hogan as a person with a "complex make-up" and said that if he continues his underlying treatment society would be better served than by imposing a prison sentence.

He attached four conditions to the five-year suspension, which include that Hogan is never to be in unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18, that he does not stay in Kerry and that he co-operates with the Probation Services.

The victim's family left the chamber in tears as Judge Moran explained his rationale for suspending the sentence.

The teenage boy, who is from Kerry and who cannot be named, was assaulted in Mr Hogan's chalet on November, 4, 2006.

Hogan's original trial at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court heard that on that date the victim and two friends went to Desmond Hogan's flat-roofed chalet at Back Lane in Ballybunion.

The victim's two friends left to go to the shop and the victim remained in Mr Hogan's house. Desmond Hogan removed all of his own clothes and the clothes of his victim. He began to kiss the boy on the mouth and he put his hands on the boy's bottom. He then brought the boy to the bedroom of the house after a knock came to the kitchen window.

The victim was placed faced down on the bed and Desmond Hogan got on top him before placing his penis on the victim and sexually assaulted him for "some time."

The trial heard the assault ended when there was another knock on the window and the boy's friends confronted Desmond Hogan and demanded to know what had happened.

Hogan denied anything had happened but was reluctant to have the gardaí called.

The victim later told his mother that something had happened and they travelled to a garda station where they were told that the boy should be taken to the sexual assault unit in Cork.

At the assault unit the boy was examined and swabs were taken for DNA matching. DNA analysis matched the version of events given by the victim.

The boy's distraught mother told the trial that her family's lives have been ruined by Desmond Hogan's actions

In her victim impact statement she said she feared Des Hogan would be let walk away without being held accountable for what he did.

"As a mother, I am totally and emotionally drained. I have put down the hardest year of my life," she said.

She told how her son has gone from being a happy young lad to being constantly moody and totally frustrated in himself.

She said that she had lost a bit of her loving son that she can't get back.