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Suspended sentence for man who repeatedly abused neighbour in assaults that began when she was 4

Kenneth Treacy of Oak Drive, Blessington, pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent between 1987 and 1991.

Image: Shutterstock/Billion Photos

A 48-YEAR-OLD MAN has received a four-year suspended sentence for repeatedly and regularly sexually abusing his neighbour in a string of assaults that began when he was 15 and the child was 4, and continued for four years.

Kenneth Treacy of Oak Drive, Blessington, pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault against Pamela McLoughlin at his home on dates between 1987 and 1991. 

Ms McLoughlin said that she returned to Ireland in December 2015 after spending nearly six years in Australia because she wanted to report the crime. She has waived her right to anonymity so that Kenneth Treacy can be named.

“My mother was having tea with his mother in the kitchen of his house while he was in the sitting room sexually abusing me,” she told the court.

“He always stopped when he thought he heard anyone coming so there is no doubt in my mind that he knew what he was doing was wrong.”

She said she experienced “at least” 100 assaults. 

Passing sentence at Wicklow Circuit Court in Bray, Judge Patrick Quinn drew attention to a delay of almost four years before Kenneth Treacy pled guilty, but said that the accused’s legal advisors had concerns about his ability to comprehend the legal process and had to carry out cognitive assessments on him. He was found to be in the bottom fifth percentile of cognitive abilities. 

“This, together with his age [when he committed the crimes] diminished rather than entirely removed blameworthiness for his criminal conduct,” Judge Quinn said.

“I am satisfied that he was cunning enough to know what he was doing was wrong and therefore should not come to the notice of his mother or other members so his family.”

A psychiatrist assessment found that he was at a low risk of reoffending. An assessment by Tusla did not raise concerns about his fitness to parent. 

Judge Quinn accepted a mitigating plea by defending counsel Feargal Kavanagh SC that Kenneth Treacy’s low IQ placed him at greater risk in prison because he “could be easily manipulated” by other prisoners. He will now be monitored by probation and welfare services as a convicted sex offender.

The process of seeking justice has not been easy, Pamela McLoughlin said in her victim impact statement.

“I feel like I have been revictimised by the criminal justice system. The case [has been] before the courts since June 2016. Kenneth Treacy pled guilty in November 2019. That is a period of 3 years and 5 months.

“During this period, I have felt isolated as a victim. I have not been offered access to any of the free services that he has been given access to. I have not been given support services or professional services while the accused has been given access to free legal aid, barristers, solicitors, psychiatric services, psychiatric reports to name just a few.

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“I am the victim, Kenneth Treacy is the guilty party, yet the criminal justice system seems to place more emphasis on his wellbeing and rights than mine.”

Pamela McLoughlin at the sentence hearing last week Pamela McLoughlin outside court. Source: Peter McGuire

She said that she was disappointed with the sentence but had been expecting it. “I waived my anonymity because I felt it was the only way to get justice,” she told TheJournal.ie.

She praised Detective Garda Patrick Twomey for helping her through the process. “He was the only person in the system to help me,” she said.

“But the process is daunting: when you report a crime, you should be given a liaison officer or an advocate. My life has been on hold for five years of adjournment after adjournment.”

Pamela McLoughlin said that she hoped that, by speaking out, she could encourage others who may be suffering in silence to come forward too. 

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