Foster father gets three years for sexual abuse
A civil servant who sexually abused his special-needs foster daughter in their Kildare home has been sentenced to three years with the final 18 months suspended.
On the second day of his trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, the man (46) pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the then 13-year-old girl on August 8th, 2005.
He has no previous convictions and has been registered a sex offender.
The man had strenuously denied the allegations to gardaí six years earlier.
Úna Ní Raifeartaigh SC, prosecuting, said the case was initially taken to the High Court when the defence sought all HSE documentation relating to the now 21-year-old because the man wanted to demonstrate that his foster daughter was “prone to fantasy”.
Those documents were released by the HSE four years later and a trial date was set for October this year. A jury was sworn in and the man pleaded guilty on the second day of the trial before the case was opened to the jury.
Investigating gardaí told Ms Ní Raifeartaigh the victim’s brother witnessed the man lifting the girl’s top and going to kiss her chest after she asked for help getting dressed. The boy had been sweeping the hall and saw what was going on as the girl’s bedroom door had been left ajar.
He challenged the man and said he would tell the girl’s foster mother what had happened and he would be jailed.
The man was interviewed by HSE authorities and claimed he had accidentally touched the victim’s breasts while he was trying to dress her. He immediately moved out of the family home and was arrested the following April and charged in January 2007. He denied the allegation during Garda interviews.
The victim has remained living with her foster family.
Her foster mother read her victim impact statement to Judge Mary Ellen Ring while the young woman watched via video link. When the victim and her foster mother got upset halfway through the report, Judge Ring told the victim she could read the rest of the report rather than it being read aloud in court.
Judge Ring said the victim had special needs and challenges but she shared the need for love and security of family that the man and his wife had initially provided her and her foster brothers.
Judge Ring noted that the “disturbing” aspect of the case was the delay caused by the HSE and said it was bewildering as they showed “slight or no regard for her care” by their actions.
She took into account that the man had pleaded guilty but said he had done so at the “11th and a half hour” and she could not ignore this.
“She needed to be secure in the belief that she was safe at home. He broke the trust of a child whose care had been entrusted to him,” Judge Ring saidt.