Man sentenced to 2½ years for sexual assault of girl (13)

Complainant wishes to waive her anonymity but can’t do so pending High Court decision, court told

The 62-year-old Dublin man had denied sexual assault of his neighbour on a date in August 2001. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

The 62-year-old Dublin man had denied sexual assault of his neighbour on a date in August 2001. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

 

A man has received a two and a half year sentence for the sexual assault of a 13 year old girl who was babysitting his grandchild.

The 62-year-old Dublin man had denied sexual assault of his neighbour on a date in August 2001. A jury found him guilty after a trial last month at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

At the sentence hearing on Wednesday Fionnuala O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, told the court that the complainant wished to waive her anonymity but said there was a pending decision in the High Court around whether she can in fact do this.

In that case lawyers for a Wicklow child rapist have argued that a complainant cannot waive the statutory anonymity. Justice Micheal White has said he will rule on the matter later this month.

Ms O’Sullivan told the court that pending this judgment nothing can be published that would identify the complainant. She said the case can be re-entered after the judgement if necessary to clarify the issues.

Garda Michelle Nolan told the court on Wednesday that in March 2016 she began an investigation after the woman, then aged in her 20s, made a complaint about a sexual assault by her then neighbour in August 2001.

She had lived with her family at an address in the Dublin area where the man and his family also then lived.

The woman told gardaí she was babysitting his three-year-old grandson and stayed over in his home. She had slept the night in a box room and in the same bed as the toddler when the man came into her the next morning.

She said he leaned over and tried to kiss her before touching her genital area. He then left and when he met her again elsewhere in the house he told her “I’m sorry”, the court heard.

He later denied the allegation and denied making the apology.

Judge Elma Sheahan suspended the last four months of a two and a half year sentence and backdated the sentence to May 13th when he went into custody.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said the assault had a profound psychological effect on her and made her feel worthless.

“I felt dirty, like I had done something wrong,” she wrote. She was twice referred to her GP as an emergency case because of suicidal thoughts.

James Dwyer SC, defending, said his client now accepted the jury verdict and wanted to apologise to the woman. He said the defendant apologised a number of times to her around the time of the offence.

The woman and her mother went to gardaí­ in 2001 but no file was ever sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the 2016 investigation was unable to establish if a formal statement had ever been made.

A referral was made to the HSE from the local garda station and no intervention was carried out.