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Male who sexually assaulted his teenage cousin, who has a disability, gets suspended sentence

The accused, now aged 24, had delayed his case by five years after skipping court in 2014.

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A DUBLIN MAN, who was a teenager when he sexually assaulted his 12-year-old cousin who has a disability, has been given a one-month suspended sentence.

The allegations came to light after their grandmother walked in and found him, then aged 16, in the girl’s bedroom.

The girl has a serious disability as well as speech difficulties, and her mental age was below her actual age, the Dublin Children’s Court was told.

The accused, now aged 24, had delayed his case by five years after skipping court in 2014, and having been homeless for a number of years. He cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim.

A pre-sentence report placed him at a low risk of re-offending. He was also working, interested in furthering his education and his life was now a lot more stable, the court heard.

However, he remained socially isolated and no longer associated with his older friends because they were involved in drug use, the defence had said. The man was taking part in a sexual offending treatment programme.

The 2014 case

The accused had pleaded guilty seven years ago to the sexual assault which occurred in 2010 at the girl’s home in south Co Dublin. However, in 2014 he skipped court when he was due to be sentenced and he was then homeless for a number of years.

Gardaí located him in January after he secured accommodation.

Giving evidence about the incident, Garda Sergeant Eimear Monaghan told the court the grandmother had walked into the girl’s bedroom and found the teen there. He had his trousers and pants around his ankles and was sitting beside his cousin on her bed.

The girl has a serious disability, as well as speech difficulties and her mental age was below her actual age, the sergeant said.

When brought to a hospital she would not let a doctor examine her. A specialist Garda interview of the girl was held, which she found distressing.

Statements to Gardaí

Garda Sergeant Monaghan said the child stated the accused, “put the thing that helps you go to the toilet in her bum and touched her bum with his hands and put his hand in her vagina”.

When arrested a couple of weeks later, the youth, then aged 16, made admissions and detailed how he touched the child around her breast and vagina, inside and outside her clothes.

He admitted: “He inserted two fingers in her vagina and touched her vagina with his penis and attempted to put it inside but changed his mind”. He also went into some detail about the girl’s speech problems and medical difficulties, the court heard.

The court heard the accused and another sibling had been taken into care at a young age.

The accused’s history

Garda Sergeant Monaghan agreed with the defence there was an allegation the accused had been the victim of abuse when he was in foster care.

She agreed the man had not continued to come to Garda attention in the years he was homeless.

His father had died when he was young and his mother had drug and health problems.

He went into care when he was about seven and over the next nine years he had been in 10 different care placements. The court heard he ended up on the streets and found it difficult to cope.

Garda Sergeant Monaghan also said the girl had attended counselling for victims of sexual abuse.

Finalising the case, Judge Brendan Toale said he had to take into account that it happened nine years ago and the accused was a minor on the date of the offence. He noted he had no record of other offences but he was not prepared to leave him without a conviction for the sexual assault because it was too serious.

He imposed a one-month sentence but suspended it on condition he did not re-offend in the next two years.

The man, who did not address the court, must also continue to attend the treatment programme and remain under supervision of the Probation Service. He will also be registered under the Sex Offenders Act.

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About the author:

Tom Tuite

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