A TAXI DRIVER has been sentenced to four years in jail for the sexual abuse of a teenage girl over a four year period.
At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Gerald Keys said that Tom Daly (57) groomed and then sexually abused the girl “for his own sexual gratification” when the female was aged 14 to 17 between 1996 and 1999.
Judge Keys told Daly he would suspend the final six months of the four year jail term “to show a ray of hope for your future”.
Married father of two, Daly of Abbeyville, Clare Road, Ennis was found guilty on nine counts of sexual assault by a jury in June and Judge Keys said that Daly continues to reject the verdict of the jury and protest his innocence.
Judge Keys said that Daly has shown a lack of appreciation of his wrongdoing and a failure to show remorse despite the findings of jury.
Judge Keys told Daly that his conduct has has a profound and damaging impact on the complainant to this day.
The judge said that the offences came within the higher level of these type of offences where a maximum sentence of five years applies.
Judge Keys said: “They are serious offences which have left an everlasting effect on the victim culminating in her abusing alcohol and illicit substances.”
Judge Keys said that the sex offender had abused his position as a family friend and groomed the girl.
The judge told Daly “you have lost your good name and are now a registered sex offender”.
In her victim impact statement, the complaint who is 36 today and a school-teacher said that Tom Daly’s “sick sexual needs” resulted in her parents “losing their little girl at a very young age and not knowing why for many years”.
The woman told the court that her “life was interrupted by a sick predator”.
She said: “I will forever feel shame for what that this man did to my body and my mind and as a result, the world remains quite lonely.
“It has taken years and years of therapy for me to work through those toxic years and for my parents, it has been completely devastating.”
“To this day, my parents still feel a sense of responsibility for Tom Daly’s despicable actions and I am left with a feeling of guilt for the pain they have been put through. This is part of the life sentence for both my parents and I.
“Tom Daly turned my view of the world into one of shame, self hatred and complete lack of trust in men. I battled with an eating disorder for well over 15 years and as a way to avoid my complete self hatred sought to avoid myself through substance abuse on top of that.”
“I have battled with depression for many years and during those times have felt suicidal more than once.”
The woman said that she is “crippled with fear because of Tom Daly”.
At the sentencing hearing, Garda Colin Egan said that Daly had abused the then teenager at his former homes in Connolly and Ennis and at his mobile home.
As part of the abuse, he groped the teenager and performed oral sex on her without her consent.
The jury heard some of the assaults were carried out while Daly’s family were present in the house.
Tom Daly was arrested and interviewed by Sgt Sandra Heelan and Garda Egan at Ennis Garda Station on 16 September 2015.
Over the course of three interviews he repeatedly denied the allegations of abuse, comparing them at one stage to being like something from “50 Shades of Grey”.
In reply to one section of the victim’s garda statement, Daly said, “I would never behave in unmannerly fashion like that with my wife let alone a child.”
Speaking outside court after Tuesday’s sentencing, the complainant said that “justice has been served” with the sentence given to Daly and she urged other victims of sex abuse to come forward.
She said: “It is three years since I made my first statement to Gardaí. It is a lengthy process but it has been worth it in the end. There were a few times during it that I considered not going through with it. I was the one that was really on trial through. It was tough, but definitely worth it.”
She added: “Sexual abuse is rampant in this country and the court system is scary, so I understand why people don’t come forward but I would definitely urge people to come forward.”
Having to relive everything while the perpetrator is sitting, looking at you in the courtroom, that is horrific in itself and scary.
The complainant said that Daly “doesn’t care. No remorse. No conscience”.
She said: “I’d say he believes himself that he didn’t do anything wrong. It is a sickness. I know he did wrong and the courts know he did wrong, so justice has been served.”
She stated that today’s sentencing “sends a good clear message to other sexual abusers that our justice system will get them”.
Judge Keys back-dated the sentence to July 24th when Mr Daly was first placed in custody.
Comments are off to protect the identity of the victim.