Man told to pay €100,000 over sexual assault of neighbour when a girl
A Co Leitrim man has been ordered to pay €100,000 in damages to a young woman after the High Court found he had sexually assaulted her when she was a child.
The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, found that Laurence Cleary, now aged in his 80s and of New Houses, Kinlough, Co Leitrim, had sexually assaulted Christina Foley (27), then his neighbour, on occasions during the 1990s.
Cleary was not in court for the case and, due to illness, gave evidence on commission in which he denied the allegations.
In his judgment yesterday, Mr Justice Kearns said he accepted Ms Foley’s evidence and rejected Cleary’s. He ruled that Ms Foley was entitled to recover damages of €100,000 plus costs from Cleary.
When opening the case this month, Anthony Barr SC, for Ms Foley, said the assaults began when she was aged eight and occurred in her own home, Cleary’s home and other locations. Ms Foley referred to three occasions when she said she was sexually assaulted by Cleary.
At the time, she did not understand what was happening and it took her a number of years to tell others of the assault. The judge was told Ms Foley was waiving any right to anonymity so Cleary could be named in public.