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Dublin: 18 °C Thursday 22 August, 2019
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Dublin man (41) jailed for sexually assaulting teenage girl during sleepovers

The girl told the the court that her “innocence and childhood were taken away”.

The man was sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. (File)
The man was sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. (File)
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

A TEENAGE GIRL who was sexually assaulted by a man after she had been invited for two sleepovers has told a court that her “innocence and childhood were taken away” by her abuser.

The 41-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for three counts of sexual assault committed at his home in Dublin on 23 and 30 October, 2016.

He had denied the charges but was found unanimously guilty by a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in May.

Passing sentence today, Judge Karen O’Connor suspended the final six months on condition that the man be subject to supervision by the Probation Service.

Sergeant Gearóid O’Brien told Eoghan Cole BL, prosecuting, that the girl’s family had considered the accused a family friend before the offences.

The victim was aged 14 when the attacks happened. Part of the evidence against the man during the trial were Facebook messages encouraging her to come for a sleepover.

The court heard that the man sexually assaulted the child three times over the course of a week.

The teenage girl, now aged 16, had been invited for a sleepover in the man’s house on the night of the first offence.

She later told gardaí that she had changed into her pyjamas and was coming from the bathroom when the accused called her into a room and asked her to sit on him.

He asked her if she had a boyfriend and then sexually assaulted her, touching her private parts.

A week later, the girl had again been invited for a sleepover but this time she changed into her pyjamas in her own house to try and avoid a similar thing happening. However, the accused again called her into a room and sexually assaulted her, both under and over her pyjamas.

Some months later, another child who had been present in the house made allegations about the offences and the injured party’s family went to gardaí.

The accused was arrested and denied any wrongdoing. It emerged during trial that he sent inappropriate Facebook messages to the girl in the months following the offences.

Victim impact statement

In a victim impact statement which she read aloud to the court with her mother by her side, the girl said she felt “so dirty, so depressed and so angry” that she had self-harmed, leaving her legs permanently scarred.

She said she had multiple thoughts of ending her own life and was at such high risk of suicide that her parents at one stage took it in turns to stay up all night to check on her.

“I just wanted the pain to stop,” she said. “I couldn’t live with the thought that my first sexual interaction had been with a man three times my age.”

She has suffered from depression, post-traumatic stress and has missed a lot of school.

The girl also said her mother was “heartbroken and angry” and couldn’t eat or sleep properly for months.

“She told me that she had made a promise to me when I was born that she would always keep me safe, and now that promise had been broken,” the girl read.

In her statement, the girl also said that her father could not attend work for three months as he was afraid the accused would come to the house while he was out.

Judge O’Connor told the girl her parents were clearly very proud of her and for very good reason.

Defence

James Dwyer SC, defending, told the court that the accused had represented Ireland in sport and had given his time to organise tournaments for younger players.

Mr Dwyer said these offences appeared to be an “aberration” in the accused’s life”.

Judge O’Connor said she was taking into consideration the man’s lack of any other convictions, his health difficulties and the fact that he has a young child.

She noted the man will be registered as a sex offender and will be subject to post release supervision.

She backdated the sentence to 21 June when the man went into custody.

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Jessica Magee

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