Released sex offender 'is a risk to kids'

Judge orders: 'stay away from children'

BY SIMON BROUDER

A convicted sex offender, who authorities believe to be a risk to children, has been released on bail and is now free to live in Kerry as he awaits sentencing.

Despite strenuous objections from prosecutors who maintain that he remains a risk to minors, Desmond Hogan, who sexually assaulted a teenage, special needs boy in Kerry two years ago, was released on bail from Tralee Circuit Criminal Court on Monday after his sentencing was adjourned for a further month.

Mr Hogan, an internationally renowned author, still believes he did nothing wrong according to the probation service.

Mr Hogan appeared before Judge Carroll Moran to be sentenced for sexually assaulting a teenager at his home in Ballybunion on November 4, 2006.

In court on Monday, after Mr Hogan's legal team raised concerns about the contents of the report, probation officer Nora Brassil told Judge Moran that she stood over the report and that she believed Mr Hogan could reoffend.

"He sees what happened as a mutual sexual experience or relationship as opposed to a crime," Nora Brassil told the court.

"If an offender doesn't see what they did as wrong they are more likely to re-offend," she said.

"He has to come to a place where he changes his point of view about what happened. As of yesterday evening [Sunday] he hadn't," Ms Brassil said.

The court heard that the probation report was prepared following five interviews with Mr Hogan, discussions with gardaí, examination of the state's book of evidence and statistical analysis of sexual offences.

When defence counsel Mr Anthony Sammon SC suggested that Mr Hogan's guilty plea was an admission that his actions were wrong Ms Brassil disagreed.

"There is often a difference between what people do legally by pleading guilty and what they say to us subsequently," she said.

Mr Sammon told the court that Mr Hogan, who has no previous convictions, was prepared to make "necessary changes to his lifestyle" including leaving Kerry and undertaking not to have any contact with boys under 17 years of age in the future.

Prosecution counsel Tom Rice QC said the state had "significant concerns" about Mr Hogan's likelihood of reoffending and opposed bail "in the strongest possible terms."

In the course of the state's application to have Mr Hogan remanded in custody further evidence was introduced regarding an incident in Tralee earlier this summer.

Detective Garda John Alfred told the court that on June 5 2008 he received a phone call from a member of the public regarding Desmond Hogan's presence in a playground in Ballymullen, Tralee.

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