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Teenage sex abuse victim felt 'used liked a puppet' by man who blackmailed her over two years

Alan Feehily was described as “pure evil” by his victim.

Galway Circuit Criminal Court.
Galway Circuit Criminal Court.
Image: Google Maps

A MAN WITH a fetish for girls in school uniform, used threats of violence and blackmail to sexually assault one such 15-year-old Co. Galway schoolgirl over a two-year period.

Agricultural contractor, Alan Feehily (27), from Milebush, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, was described as “pure evil” by his victim, who said he has used her “like a puppet” to perform degrading sexual acts.

Feehily pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court last November to four sample charges of defilement of a child aged under 15 years of age at various locations in Co. Galway on dates between 1 January, 2013 and 12 October, 2014, while the facts in another nine similar charges were admitted.

Detective Adrian Fehily told the sentence hearing last Friday the girl was aged between 14 and 17 and the accused was aged between 22 and 24 at the time the offences occurred.

He said Feehily became acquainted with the girl when she was 14 through another person and disapproved when he heard she had a 15-year-old boyfriend.

He threatened to tell her parents about the boy if she didn’t give him a kiss. The girl refused but he kept threatening to tell her parents if she didn’t kiss him.

She finally relented and kissed him. After that, the threats became more aggressive and Feehily blackmailed her by threatening to tell her parents she had kissed him.

Detective Fehily said the accused began bringing the girl to school in his car and drove her to various locations before using threats of violence to get her to perform sexual acts on him against her will while she was wearing her school uniform.

He would collect her after school and subject her to the same abuse.

The seriousness of the sexual assaults progressed until one day, Feehily demanded the girl have full sexual intercourse with him after he had collected her from school.

The court was told Feehily “created rules” which the victim had to obey.

“She would have to ring him daily to let him know where she was and what she was doing and would have to reply to his persistent text messages within ten minutes ,” Det Fehily said.

He demanded she take pictures of herself naked and video herself performing sexual acts before forwarding the content to his phone. He used these images to blackmail her further. She was 16 years old at the time.

Gardaí

The abuse ended when the girl attended a school friend’s 18th birthday party where there was no phone coverage.

Feehily picked her up from the party and was aggressive towards her because she hadn’t phoned him or answered his texts. She confided in the friend and soon after the Gardai were contacted.

Feehily was arrested and his phone examined. Offending photos and videos of the victim were stored on the device.

He was interviewed on six occasions and at all times claimed the sex was consensual. He admitted he had sex with the underage girl on a number of occasions.

He denied her claims that she had consented out of fear and because of the threats he made.

Det. Fehily confirmed Feehily had no previous convictions and had not come to Garda attention since.

Victim impact statement

In her victim impact statement, the girl, who was present in court, said her life had been turned upside down by the accused.

She said school became a blur and her grades slipped as she became “fixated with staying alive.”

While my friends were all having fun, I was being forced every day – like a puppet – into degrading sexual acts against my will. I was completely ashamed and degraded. He was pure evil. I was forced to grow up fast and I lost six years of my life. I have suffered since I was 14.

“He showed the most awful cruelty to me as a teenager. I’m now able to dress as I like and I should be able to book a ticket freely and go where I like.

“I really do wish to go to college and travel the world someday but he has put all of that on hold,” the girl said.

“While I know now that I will make it, I still find it hard to tell my story. There were times when I was not believed, even by people in authority. He has taken so many things, like safety and security from me and filled me with shame and fear, but he has not taken away the person I am. I will never be afraid of the truth again,” the girl’s victim impact statement concluded.

Bernard Madden SC, defending, said a probation officer had carried out a partial risk assessment on Feehily and her report stated he would be a suitable candidate to carry out community service in lieu of a prison sentence.

Feehily told the probation officer he had been in a consensual relationship with the girl.

The probation officer stated in her report that more time was needed to carry out a full risk assessment and that Feehily would benefit from the ongoing support of the probation service.

Madden asked for sentence to be adjourned so that a comprehensive analysis and risk assessment on his client could be completed.

Referring to a report which was handed into court, Madden said it had found his client’s attitude to be: “Minimisation of offending and lack of empathy for the victim along with a failure to recognise a fetish for young girl in uniform.”

He said his client had assessed as being at “low to moderate risk of reoffending” because of his inability to see the harm of his actions.

Grooming

Judge Rory McCabe said there was compelling evidence of conduct that constituted grooming and that conduct had escalated to manipulation, domination, threats and aggression.

The judge said Feehily had subjected the girl to a pattern of abuse of the grossest kind and he had maintained to the present day that it was all consensual.

“I have no difficulty in rejecting that,” he said.

He said Feehily’s conduct demonstrated “a dangerous propensity to aggression and manipulation to a very high degree.”

The duration of the offending and the clear premeditation were seen as aggravating factors.

The victim, he said, had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a direct result of the years of sexual trauma she had suffered from a young age.

Noting the maximum sentence for the offence of defilement of a child was five years, Judge McCabe indicated a four-year sentence for each offence to be appropriate, giving a 20% discount, he said, for the “limited” mitigating factors.

However, he adjourned finalisation of that sentence to 10 May and directed the probation officer complete a full risk assessment of Feehily in the interim.

He remanded him in custody until 10 May to await the findings of the probation assessment and to finalise sentence then.

Comments are disabled as legal proceedings are ongoing

Read: 265 people have come forward as victims of USA Gymnastics doctor >

Read: Bill Kenneally’s ‘forgotten victims’ want to know how that ‘horrible monster got away with it for so long’ >

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Ann Healy

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