Girl (14) was sexually assaulted by man after being invited for sleepovers

Teenager says her ‘innocence and childhood were taken away’ by her abuser

A teenage girl who was sexually assaulted by a man  has told a court that her ‘innocence and childhood were taken away’ by her abuser. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A teenage girl who was sexually assaulted by a man has told a court that her ‘innocence and childhood were taken away’ by her abuser. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

A teenage girl who was sexually assaulted by a man after she had been invited for two sleepovers has told a court that her “innocence and childhood were taken away” by her abuser.

The 41-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for three counts of sexual assault committed at his home in Dublin on October 23rd and 30th, 2016.

He had denied the charges but was found unanimously guilty by a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in May.

Passing sentence on Thursday, Judge Karen O’Connor suspended the final six months on condition that the man be subject to supervision by the Probation Service.

Sgt Gearóid O’Brien told Eoghan Cole BL, prosecuting, that the girl’s family had considered the accused a family friend before the offences.

The victim was aged 14 when the attacks happened. Part of the evidence against the man during the trial were Facebook messages encouraging her to come for a sleepover.

The court heard that the man sexually assaulted the child three times over the course of a week, calling her into a room while others were present in the house, before touching her private parts.

In a victim impact statement which she read aloud to the court with her mother by her side, the girl said she felt “so dirty, so depressed and so angry” that she had self-harmed, leaving her legs permanently scarred.

She said she had multiple thoughts of ending her own life and was at such high risk of doing so that her parents at one stage took it in turns to stay up all night to check on her.

“I just wanted the pain to stop,” she said. “I couldn’t live with the thought that my first sexual interaction had been with a man three times my age.”

She has suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress and has missed a lot of school.

Impact on parents

The girl said her parents had also suffered badly and that her father could not attend work for three months as he was afraid the accused would come to the house while he was out.

James Dwyer SC, defending, told the court these offences appeared to be an “aberration” in the accused’s life.

Ms Justice O’Connor said she was taking into consideration the man’s lack of any other convictions, his health difficulties and the fact that he has a young child.

She noted the man will be registered as a sex offender and will be subject to post-release supervision. She backdated the sentence to June 21st, when the man went into custody.