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Man who was sentenced in his absence for rape and sexual assault of boy is jailed

Anthony Moynihan was jailed today after he was brought into court following the execution of a warrant.

Image: Laura Hutton via RollingNews.ie

A CORKMAN WHO was sentenced in his absence last week to seven years in prison for raping and sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy over a period of two years has been jailed.

Anthony Moynihan (54) of Croccane, Rostellan, Midleton was sentenced in his absence after he failed to appear at the Central Criminal Court last Friday.

Today, Justice Michael White sent Moynihan to prison after he was brought into court following the execution of a warrant which had been issued last Friday.

During the sentencing last week, Justice White condemned the “brutal” abuse inflicted on the victim, 23-year-old Dylan Higgins, who previously waived his right to anonymity so that Moynihan could be named.

At an earlier hearing, Higgins read his own victim impact statement aloud in court and urged other abuse victims to come forward as “it may save lives”.

Justice White paid tribute to Higgins for his “tremendous courage” in reporting the abuse, giving his statement to gardaí and delivering a “very moving” statement in court outlining the severe impact the abuse had had on him.

The court heard Higgins had attempted suicide twice and was greatly saddened that his mother had passed away in 2016 before he could disclose the crimes to her.

Higgins concluded his victim impact statement saying, “I urge people who were abused to come forward, it may save lives”. He added that he now wanted to get on with his life because he had “carried this for too long”.

Guilty plea

Moynihan pleaded guilty to two charges of anal rape and two counts of sexually assaulting Higgins on dates between 9 September 2006 and 27 June 2008.

The court heard that Higgins, who was aged 11 and 12 at the time, called three times to Moynihan’s home because he knew the man would give him cigarettes. After the first incident of rape, Higgins discarded his underwear as it was blood-stained and he didn’t want anyone to find out about the rape.

The second incident of rape took place when he returned to Moynihan’s home a number of months later and the man asked the boy if he would have sex with him. Higgins refused and complained that he had been left bleeding the last time Moynihan raped him.

The man then brought the boy into the bathroom on the pretence of applying cream to his bottom but instead raped him.

Moynihan has three previous convictions for sexually assaulting two young girls in 2008 and 2009 for which he received a suspended sentence. Again, these girls had gone to Moynihan’s home together on the understanding that he would give them cigarettes.

Justice White said Moynihan’s guilty plea was very important as he had made full admissions to gardaí early on. He said another mitigating factor was that Moynihan was suffering from throat cancer.

Additional evidence

Higgins said his mother passed away in 2016 which “saddens me as she never got to know my true story”.

He said during the rape he didn’t know how to feel. “I knew it was wrong. I thought he was going to harm me,” Higgins said.

“The first time he raped me it hurt a lot and I was crying. I was bleeding and threw away my underwear in case I would have to explain.”

He said on the second occasion he was “screaming crying”. “He knew I had a fear of him and he just forced himself on me.”

Higgins described being disgusted, scared and in a lot of pain. He said he tried to hang himself.

“I still told no one. I developed an addiction and got into a lot of trouble with gardaí. I was very disappointed in myself as I knew it was not me.”

He said he didn’t want to carry the “shame” of the rape before he outlined a second attempt to take his life which he said “thankfully, failed”.

“The abuse of my body and mind caused great confusion. I felt dirty, used and abused. I was only a child and he should have had more sense,” Higgins said, adding that he was relieved when Moynihan pleaded guilty.

“Everything now is out in the open. I now intend to start my new life with my partner and our family,” Higgins said before he thanked his father, siblings, his partner and her parents for their support.

He also thanked Detective Garda Rachael McGrath to whom he reported the abuse in 2017.

Detective Garda McGrath told Tim O’Leary SC, prosecuting that Higgins was under the care of the Probation Service in 2017 when he told his officer that he was struggling due to the fact that he had been sexually abused as a child.

The officer reported it to the gardaí and Detective Garda McGrath approached Higgins to make a statement of complaint.

Arrest

Moynihan was arrested in July 2017 and made full admissions.

Detective Garda McGrath said Moynihan had a long history of alcohol abuse and would have come to garda attention for drunkenness and public order offences.

She agreed with Thomas Creed SC, defending that his client had had both his larynx and thyroid removed due to his cancer diagnosis which had affected his ability to communicate. He also had to be fed via a tube.

Creed handed in a number of medical reports and said his client had a 50/50 chance of the cancer reoccurring and if that happened there was no chance of a cure.

Counsel said Moynihan has not committed further offences since 2010 and said a probation report now states he is at a lower risk of re-offending because of his ill health.

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Sonya McLean and Jessica Magee

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