Judge spares sex abuser from jail in line with daughter’s wishes

Suspended sentence for businessman Oliver Haskett after pleading guilty to indecent assault

Judge Carroll Moran said Oliver  Haskett, a father of four, was guilty of a breach of trust and the fact he had abused his own child was a further breach of this trust.
Photograph: Reuters

Judge Carroll Moran said Oliver Haskett, a father of four, was guilty of a breach of trust and the fact he had abused his own child was a further breach of this trust. Photograph: Reuters

Thu, Oct 24, 2013, 17:38

A 61-year-old man who subjected his young daughter to years of sexual abuse has avoided a prison sentence after she indicated she did not wish to see him jailed.

Earlier this month, Limerick businessman and former guesthouse owner Oliver Haskett was remanded in custody and warned he would be going to jail after harrowing evidence of the abuse suffered by his young daughter was outlined at Limerick Circuit Court.

Mr Haskett, with an address at Westbury, Co Clare, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of indecent assault of his daughter Sheila Ryan between January 1988 and December 31st, 1990, and a further 20 counts of sexual assault between September 1991 and December 1995.

The offences occurred at the former family homes in Foynes, Kilcornan and Adare in Co Limerick.

Ms Ryan, who waived her right to anonymity, told gardaí the abuse started when she was five years old. She also recalled how she was beaten and chastised by her father for mispronouncing words.

She said some of the abuse took place in the downstairs bedroom of a bed and breakfast which her parents operated in Adare Co Limerick.

Before sentence was imposed today, Judge Carroll Moran was told Ms Ryan did not want her father to get a custodial sentence.

Counsel for the State, Michael Collins, said the now 36-year-old was shocked when she saw her father going into custody following his last court appearance, and said she had written a letter indicating she did not want her father going to jail.

Judge Carroll Moran said Mr Haskett, a father of four, was guilty of a breach of trust and the fact he had abused his own child was a further breach of this trust.

Judge Moran said the natural paternal instinct was to protect, not to abuse, and that Mr Haskett’s actions had resulted in the premature sexualisation of his daughter Sheila.

In her victim impact statement, Ms Ryan revealed how she had come close to suicide and how she struggled with depression, eating disorders and alcohol abuse as a result of her dysfunctional childhood.

Imposing a four-year suspended jail term, Judge Moran said he had taken into account Ms Ryan’s wishes that she did not want to see her father going to jail.

Addressing Mr Haskett directly, Judge Moran said: “I want to commend your daughter for her Christian charity and forgiveness.”

Judge Moran ordered that Mr Haskett’s name be placed on the Register of Sex Offenders for five years.

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