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The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin, file photo.
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin, file photo.
Image: PA Archives/PA images

Dublin man handed suspended sentence for sexually assaulting four of his young cousins

The Probation Service assessed the man as having a moderate risk of re-offending within the next five years.
Jul 29th 2019, 3:28 PM 23,702 0

A DUBLIN MAN has been given a four-year suspended sentence for sexually assaulting four of his young female cousins as a teenager.

The 33-year-old male, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of his victims had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in July 2018 to six charges of sexual assault which involved four of his cousins on unknown dates between 2000 and 2006 at a location in Dublin city.

The court had previously heard that both the man and the four victims, one of whom was just four years old at the time, are members of a large, extended family which has been deeply divided since the offences came to light.

The women, now aged in their twenties, wrote victim impact statements read out in court which all expressed how their extended family had once been very close-knit but was now “torn apart”.

The offences were first reported after two of the cousins had a sleepover in December 2014 and one asked the other if the man had ever touched her.

When they realised that they had both been sexually assaulted, the girls informed their parents. The court heard that further allegations surfaced from two other cousins and gardaí were contacted.

All four women said they continue to suffer from depression and anxiety as a result of the abuse and that they have struggled with personal relationships.

They said they have flashbacks about the assaults and get panic attacks or feel sick whenever they see the man. He has no previous convictions.

The court heard that the day after gardaí first met the women and the defendant, the man presented at a garda station and made full admissions.

Judge Sinead Ní Chúlacháin said he had pleaded guilty at an early stage which had provided some emotional comfort to his cousins as it was an acknowledgement that he had done wrong and they were to be fully believed.

The judge said he had shown an increasing awareness and insight into the impact of his offences on his victims.

She noted the Probation Service had assessed him as having a moderate risk of re-offending within the next five years.

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The court heard he had been found unsuitable to take part in the Safer Lives treatment programme for convicted sex offenders but that there was the possibility of a place on another programme in early 2020.

Judge Ní Chúlacháin said no penalty she imposed on the man could take back what his victims had lost in terms of their innocence, trust and sense of security.

The judge imposed jail terms ranging from one year to four years for the six charges of sexual assault but suspended all of them.

A psychological report showed the accused suffered significant weaknesses in verbal reasoning, expression and comprehension and became vulnerable when feeling anxiety and depression and could become overwhelmed by his emotions.

The judge said he had reduced personal growth which hampered his feelings of empathy and she remained concerned that he had a limited understanding of the effects of his offences on his cousins.

With reporting from Seán McCárthaigh

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Jessie Magee

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