A JURY AT the Central Criminal Court has acquitted an 83-year-old man of raping an American teenager after he testified that the sex was consensual.
The man, who is also a US citizen, denied two counts of raping the then 17-year-old girl in a hotel room in Limerick city on 1 August 2010 while they were both on holidays here.
He also denied two counts of sexually assaulting the teenager in the hotel room on 31 July and 1 August 2010. The man is legally entitled to anonymity.
The pair, who are related, were sharing a twin room during their stay when the sexual acts took place. The woman told the trial that she still can’t quite believe what happened and said the accused was like a grandfather to her.
The man gave evidence during the trial that after confiding in him about her weight problem and bulimia the complainant performed oral sex on him. He said he later tried unsuccessfully to have full sex with her.
Under cross examination during the trial he told Paul Greene SC, prosecuting, that “there was never a moment where she objected” and that she could have stopped the sexual interactions and “she was well able to”.
He agreed that in the following days he apologised to a relative of the girl “for causing so much pain” to her.
He said: “Regardless of who started or who was responsible, it was a very painful thing for the family, I very much regretted it.”
A jury of six men and six women deliberated for just short of five hours before returning unanimous verdicts of not guilty on all charges.
The woman gave evidence that she completely froze when the man, who she had known all her life, began the alleged assaults. She said he held her down on a bed and she tried to push him off.
He told her “you’re my girl” and began to molest her, she said. He asked her when she first became sexually attracted to him, she testified.
She said he orally raped her and she stopped resisting as she thought “it can’t get worse”.
The man then tried to have full penetrative sex with her but had to stop because he wasn’t physically able. The girl said he did penetrate her and it was very painful.