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Man who sexually abused children while he was a teenager jailed for five and a half years

He plead guilty to one count of rape and six counts of indecent assault in the 1980s.

A DUBLIN MAN who sexually abused five girls in the 1980s has been jailed for five and a half years.

The 53-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victims, was neighbours with the victims and abused them when they were visitors to his home.

The Central Criminal Court heard that the man was aged between 12 and 20 years old around the time of the offending.

The man pleaded guilty to one count of rape and six counts of indecent assault at an address in a Dublin town on dates between 1980 and 1988. He has no previous convictions.

Passing sentence today, Justice Paul McDermott noted the young age of the victims who had suffered various degrees of abuse and who each suffered its effects, some very serious and continuing today.

Justice McDermott said a happy childhood for these children had been overshadowed by these dreadful offences.

The judge noted the man’s intellectual functioning was on the borderline range and he had to consider the man’s age at the time of the offending. He said the man had been growing and developing, but perhaps not maturing.

He took into account the extensive and repeated nature of the offending and the evidence that the man knew what he was doing was wrong and had gone about it in a predatory way.

The judge noted in mitigation the man’s guilty plea, his age and the passage of time. He said the man had led an otherwise blameless life and had some health issues.

Justice McDermott sentenced the man to consecutive terms totalling six and a half years and suspended the final year for three years to encourage rehabilitation on strict conditions, including undergoing any assessment for a program addressing his offending.

He also ordered that the man not approach or have contact with the injured parties and not be in the company of a child under 18 years old unless in the company of another adult.

At a sentencing hearing earlier this week, a local detective told Patrick Gageby SC, prosecuting, that the first victim was around 11 when the first incident occurred sometime around late 1980. The man jammed the child up against a wall and rubbed against her.

The victim recalled him putting his hand on her chest on purpose, as well as two occasions where he put his fingers into her vagina, first after pushing her into a wardrobe and secondly after joining her in a shed.

Around the summer of 1982, the man pulled her into a shack in his back garden and raped her. She was sore and crying and after the offence, he told her not to tell anyone as she would not be believed.

The detective said the second victim was abused by the accused around 1985. During a game of hide and seek he invited her to hide in a shed in his garden, where he anally raped her.

He anally raped her on a second occasion during a sleepover after inviting her to leave his sister’s bedroom. On a further occasion, he orally raped the girl while she was in his sitting room.

The third victim recalled incidents of the accused either rubbing against her with his penis or generally rubbing up against her. He would make a beeline for her if she was playing in the house, hold her onto the ground and rub his erect penis against her.

The court heard this happened more than once, but less than five times.

The fourth victim on one occasion was playing hide and seek in his back garden when she was told she should stay with the man. Inside a hut, he put his hand up her skirt and put two fingers inside her vagina.

He heard someone coming and stopped. The victim avoided being alone with him from then on.

The final victim was around nine or 10 when the man told his sister to bring the girl up to the attic to look at his train set. While looking at the trains, he put his hand up her top and fondled her chest.

The victims reported the offences to gardaí in 2017. The man was interviewed by gardaí and denied any such misconduct, but pleaded guilty on a trial date in November 2021.

Gageby said victim impact statements were prepared for the court to read, but the victims did not want them read aloud in open court.

The detective agreed with Conor Devally SC, defending, that his client has not come to garda attention since the offences. He agreed the man’s life has been “rather unremarkable” and he still resides with his mother.

He agreed with counsel that as an expression of remorse, his client has indicated “a substantial sum” which could be distributed to the five women.

The detective agreed the man left schooling without sitting a public exam and that he was a man who was “terse” in his communications.

Devally said a psychologist report before the court found his client was in the borderline range in terms of competency. He said his client has no source of friendship save within the family home.

Counsel said the “bravery and strength” of the victims in coming forward has not led to “a cascade” of wider offending at the time or since coming to light.

He said his client has a brain aneurysm, which is scanned every year to make sure it has not grown and for which he takes medication. He said his client has “a limited lifestyle” and is reliant on his mother.

Brion Hoban and Fiona Ferguson