Man who defiled girl (14) he collected from Wesley disco is jailed
19-year-old agreed to drive teen home from Donnybrook but made her perform oral sex
Judge Melanie Greally praised the girl’s courage in coming forward at a young age for what she said was a ‘very difficult process’
A man who admitted defiling a 14-year-old girl whom he collected from a teenage disco in Dublin has been sentenced to four years in jail, with the final 12 months suspended.
The man, then aged 19, had agreed to drive the teenager home from the Wesley disco in Donnybrook, but he made her perform oral sex in his car on the way, a court heard.
The 21-year-old man cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim.
He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one count of engaging in a sexual act with an underage girl on July 17th 2015. The court heard he has intellectual difficulties and was described as “naive”.
Passing sentence on Friday, Judge Melanie Greally praised the girl’s courage in coming forward at a young age for what she said was a “very difficult process”.
Judge Greally said the girl had been “manifestly intoxicated and unwell” at the time she got into the man’s car, and was entirely dependent on him to get home.
She said the man took advantage of all this and of the significant age difference between them “for his own sexual gratification”.
The judge agreed with counsel for the defence that it was undoubtedly an “opportunistic offence” but said that this was not a mitigating factor, on the contrary.
She said the “extreme intimacy” of the sexual act involved, combined with the “severe and lasting impact” on the girl, placed the offence in the middle of the range in terms of seriousness and necessitated a custodial sentence.
“It is no exaggeration to say that her road to recovery will be a lengthy one,” said Judge Greally.
She gave the accused man credit for pleading guilty, for his previous good character, his cooperation with the gardaí, his remorse, the difficult circumstances of his upbringing and his limited intellectual capacity.
She suspended the final 12 months of the sentence on account of the accused man’s young age at the time and his naivety.
Judge Greally described the girl’s victim impact report, which was not read out in court, as an “honest and extremely well-expressed account” of the pain, isolation, emotional turmoil and loss of trust that she has suffered.
She said the man was now a registered sex offender and would bear “all the limitations and stigma” that this entails.
Previously Garda Michael Lynch told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that on the night in question, the victim went to the teenage disco with two of her friends. She drank some vodka before going in and began to feel increasingly sick over the course of the night.
The court heard the girl was too afraid to call her mother and instead contacted the man, a Facebook acquaintance, asking him to pick her up. “He was the only person she knew who had a car,” Gda Lynch said.
The man picked up the girl outside the disco and drove her around for some time, the court heard. She fell asleep before waking up when he stopped the car and sexually assaulted her
Afterwards, the pair drove to McDonald’s before the man eventually dropped her home. A family member found the girl crying on the stairs and her parents were informed. A complaint was made to gardaí and the man was arrested a few days later.
The man admitted to gardaí that he engaged in sexual activity with the girl after picking her up from the disco and said he knew she was only 14.
The court heard he texted the girl and apologised for his actions before being interviewed by gardaí. He has no previous convictions.
Defence counsel, Caroline Biggs SC, told the court that two families had been affected by the incident and the man’s family had taken the matter very seriously.
A psychiatric report handed up to court showed the man, now aged 21, has intellectual difficulties and a borderline learning disability. In the wake of the offence, he attempted suicide. He is attending counselling and is currently on anti-depressants.
“After this offence, he was so disturbed by his own actions, and the effects of those actions, that he attempted to end his own life,” Ms Biggs said. She said her client had expressed “guilt and regret” at what happened.
“It is absolutely recognised by (the man) that he has caused enormous damage to (the victim) and he regrets completely his actions on the night in question,” Ms Biggs said. She added the man was a person who “made a mistake”.
She said it was not a case involving a “predatory man” waiting outside a disco for young girls.