Writer sentenced for sexual abuse of teen

Mon, Oct 5, 2009, 01:00

Award winning writer Desmond Hogan has been given a two year suspended jail sentence, placed on the sex offenders register and ordered not to have unsupervised contact with children after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

Judge Carroll Moran noted that the risk of Hogan re-offending was "moderate to low" and said he believed that society would benefit more from Hogan continuing with therapeutic treatment that he is currently receiving than from the writer being imprisoned.

Ballinasloe-born Hogan (58), who formerly lived at Back Lane, East End, Ballybunion, Co Kerry, had pleaded guilty at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court in July 2008 to sexually assaulting the 15-year-old on November 11th 2006 at a house he was renting in the seaside town.

At that earlier hearing, Sgt Michael McCarthy said the injured party was one of three boys who visited Hogan at his home where the writer showed them sketches and photographs of naked people and the assault took place when the victim's friends left to go to a local shop.

Sgt McCarthy said that Hogan removed all the boy's clothes and then his own clothes and proceeded to kiss the boy in the kitchen before bringing him to a bedroom where he placed the boy on the bed faced down and sexually abused him.

Hogan's probation officer, Nora Brassil told an earlier hearing that Hogan had made it clear to her that he saw the incident with the young boy as "a mutual sexual incident/relationship" and she expressed concern he might re-offend if he did not see what he had done was wrong.

Judge Moran adjourned the matter on a number of occasions to allow Hogan be assessed and receive treatment at the Granada Institute in Dublin and today he was presented by Hogan's defence team with a report on the writer prepared by the institute.

Defence counsel Anthony Sammon SC requested Judge Moran not to read the report out as it contained matters of great privacy in which Hogan had bared his soul with regard to his formative years and Judge Moran agreed.

Mr Sammon pointed out that assessment staff at the institute had concluded that Hogan had suffered a lot during his formative years and that he "now suffered greatly from alienation and isolation and from serious problems of consistent depression".

Mr Sammon said that his client needed to address his own make-up and to understand that he may hold views of life that are not in keeping with the general norms and in that regard, he needs further assistance if he is to make further progress towards recovery.

Describing Hogan as "a very complex person", Mr Sammon pointed out that he had no previous convictions and had not come to Garda attention since and he suggested that he would benefit more from working with an undestanding probation officer than from jail.

Judge Moran noted that the risk of Hogan re-offending was "moderate to low" and he noted that the assault consisted of one incident and that there was no question of serial abuse as was often the case with those before the courts on charges of sexual assault of minors.

"This is a very serious matter .... this was an incident with a young boy who was under age - it's completely unacceptable - it was an abuse of a relationship between a young boy and a considerably older man," said Judge Moran..

However he believed that society would benefit more from Hogan continuing with his treatment than from sending him to jail where he might meet with like minded people serving sentences for similar offences as that would not address Hogan's problems.

"He is a person with a complex make-up and if he continues his underlying therapeutic treatment, in all the circumstances society is probably better served than if he is sent to jail," said Judge Moran as he imposed a two year sentence but suspended it for five years.

He also ordered that Hogan, a former winner of both the Hennessy Award and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, be placed on the register of sex offenders while he also imposed a number of conditions on him.

These included that he have no unsupervised contact with children under 18, that he commit no crime of any kind, that he co-operates with the Probation Service regarding the institute's recommendations and that he not stay in Kerry "in ease of the injured party".