Writer admits aggravated sexual assault of 15-year-old boy

Sat, Jul 12, 2008, 01:00

THE WRITER Desmond Hogan yesterday pleaded guilty to the aggravated sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy, at the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee.

The 57-year-old, who was described as a reclusive figure, was accompanied in court by his publisher, Anthony Farrell of Lilliput Press, who testified on his behalf.

Hogan, of Back Lane, East End, Ballybunion, Co Kerry, was charged with engaging in a sexual act with a child under the age of 17 and aggravated sexual assault on November 11th, 2006, at Back Lane, under section three of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006.

Judge Carroll Moran said he was taking on board the fact the accused had no previous convictions, but he would have to have regard to the fact that he took advantage of a young man.

There had been no explanation why that happened or assurance that it wasn’t going to happen again, Judge Moran said.

That left the situation “somewhat up in the air,” the judge added. He adjourned the case to October 6th next for a report from the Probation Service.

In evidence Sgt Michael McCarthy said the injured party was one of three boys in the accused’s chalet on the date in question.

Hogan was showing them sketches and etchings and various photographs of naked people. The material was not modern but Renaissance art, Sgt McCarthy said.

The assault took place when the injured party’s friends left to go a local shop, beginning in the kitchen with the accused removing all the boy’s clothes and then his own clothes. Sgt McCarthy told Judge Moran that Hogan proceeded to kiss the boy.

At this point, Hogan rose to his feet and walked towards the bench saying “I do not subscribe to this. It is not true, it is not true.”

When he resumed his evidence, Sgt McCarthy said Desmond Hogan retreated to the bedroom and placed the boy on the bed face downwards and sexually abused him. The assault continued in the bedroom for some time, the sergeant said.

Sgt McCarthy said Hogan was “a reclusive figure in Ballybunion”, and had very little contact with the local people. He had got to know young people in the area “from exercising on the secluded Nuns’ beach”, Sgt McCarthy said.

The boy’s friends returned and asked what had occurred. Hogan denied anything had happened and when the boys said they wished to call gardaí he did not do so.

The three boys left for the injured party’s house and the boy was brought by his mother to make a complaint at the Garda station later that night. He was sent for examination to the South Infirmary Hospital in Cork. Medical and forensic evidence found traces of semen on the boy and on his clothing, but no bruises.

In a victim impact statement the boy’s mother said the family was completely devastated and “totally disgusted” by what had happened. It affected the family every day and they were constantly worried about where their sons were at any time.

“This has completely changed my son from being a happy young lad to someone who is constantly moody and totally frustrated with himself. I have lost a bit of my loving son.”

Lilliput Press publisher Anthony Farrell said he had known Desmond Hogan for several years and he was a writer with an international reputation. He was a man of “utmost probity” and a family friend for many years.

Mr Farrell read into court a statement from the writer Colm Tóibín who described Desmond Hogan as a writer “of immense power and importance who dealt with human isolation”.

Defence senior counsel Anthony Sammon said the accused wished to express his regret for leading the boy into such a situation and also expressed regret to the boy’s family.