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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 27 October 2020
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Man who sexually assaulted his son in the 1980s jailed for four and a half years

The man’s son was seven years old at the time of the abuse.

File photo. Courtroom.
File photo. Courtroom.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

A VICTIM OF child sexual assault has said he choose to get a vasectomy because he was afraid if he had children he would not be able to protect them from abuse.

The man’s victim impact statement was read out in court during the sentence hearing of his 64-year-old father, who was convicted of sexual assaulting his seven-year-old son in 1989.

During a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last month the victim said his father had taken him swimming and then brought him home. He said he remembers his father trying to hypnotise him before sexually assaulting him.

The defendant, who cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity, was himself a victim of sexual abuse at Letterfrack Industrial school during the early 1970s. The court heard he was sent there at the age of 13 and left years later with no formal educational qualifications.

He had pleaded not guilty to the indecent assault of a minor in at a place in Dublin in 1989.

Confession

Detective Garda David Chapman told the court that the victim made a complaint to gardaí in 2015. When the detective later arrested the accused, the man told them he had masturbated his son.

He later told gardaí, during interview, that he was “washing him, cuddling him, sucking him” and said “I was just playing around with his penis, I was trying to bond with him and to teach him sex things”.

He told gardaí that after making these confessions he felt better, saying “I feel cleansed now”.

The court heard the defendant was admitted into to a psychiatric hospital the same year of the abuse and spent most of the next ten years in various psychiatric hospitals.

After being charged, he denied the offence and during the trial he testified that the accusation was false. After Judge Pauline Codd sentenced him today to four and a half years imprisonment he told her “I agree. I’m not guilty”.

‘Abuse often begets abuse’

In a victim impact statement the man wrote that his childhood was stolen from him and that he still suffers flashbacks and nightmares of the assault.

He said he has issues trusting people. He said he choose to have a vasectomy because “I’m afraid to bring kids into this dangerous world” and fears he would “not be able to protect them from predators”.

Judge Codd said the assault was particularly reprehensible because it was against his own son and was a grave breach of trust.

She said she had to take into consideration, as mitigation, the fact that the man was a victim of child abuse himself while in the care of the State.

“Sadly abuse often begets abuse,” she said. She noted he has shown no insight into the effects of his own actions but also has a history of severe mental illness and “alcohol dependence syndrome”.

She suspended the last six months of the sentence on condition that he engage with the Probation Service after his release.

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Declan Brennan

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