A man with a fetish for girls in school uniform used threats of violence and blackmail to sexually assault a 15-year-old Co Galway schoolgirl over a two-year period.
Agricultural contractor Alan Feehily (27), from Milebush, Castlebar, Co Mayo, was described as “pure evil” by his victim, who said he used her “like a puppet” to perform degrading sexual acts.
Feehily pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court last November to four sample charges of defilement of a child aged under 15 years of age at various locations in Co Galway on dates between January 1st, 2013 and October 12th, 2014, while the facts in another nine similar charges were admitted.
Detective Adrian Fehily told the sentence hearing last Friday the girl was aged between 14 and 17 and the accused was aged between 22 and 24 at the time the offences occurred.
He said Feehily became acquainted with the girl when she was 14 through another person and disapproved when he heard she had a 15-year-old boyfriend. He threatened to tell her parents about the boy if she didn’t give him a kiss. The girl refused but he kept threatening to tell her parents if she didn’t kiss him. She finally relented and kissed him. After that, the threats became more aggressive and Feehily blackmailed her by threatening to tell her parents she had kissed him.
Detective Fehily said the accused began bringing the girl to school in his car and drove her to various locations before using threats of violence to get her to perform sexual acts on him against her will while she was wearing her school uniform.
The seriousness of the sexual assaults progressed until one day, Feehily demanded the girl have full sexual intercourse with him after he had collected her from school.
The abuse ended when the girl confided in a friend and soon after the Gardai were contacted.
In her victim impact statement, the girl, who was present in court, said her life had been turned upside down by the accused. She said school became a blur and her grades slipped as she became “fixated with staying alive.”
“While my friends were all having fun, I was being forced every day - like a puppet - into degrading sexual acts against my will. I was completely ashamed and degraded.
Mr Bernard Madden SC, defending, said a probation officer had carried out a partial risk assessment on Feehily and her report stated he would be a suitable candidate to carry out community service in lieu of a prison sentence.
Mr Madden asked for sentence to be adjourned so that a comprehensive analysis and risk assessment on his client could be completed.
Judge Rory McCabe said there was compelling evidence of conduct that constituted grooming and that conduct had escalated to manipulation, domination, threats and aggression.
The judge said Feehily had subjected the girl to a pattern of abuse of the grossest kind and he had maintained to the present day that it was all consensual. “I have no difficulty in rejecting that,” he said.
He said Feehily’s conduct demonstrated “a dangerous propensity to aggression and manipulation to a very high degree.” The duration of the offending and the clear premeditation were seen as aggravating factors.
Noting the maximum sentence for the offence of defilement of a child was five years, Judge McCabe indicated a four-year sentence for each offence to be appropriate, giving a 20 per cent discount, he said, for the “limited” mitigating factors.
However, he adjourned finalisation of that sentence to May 10th and directed the probation officer complete a full risk assessment of Feehily in the interim. Feehily was remanded in custody until then to await the findings of the probation assessment and to finalise sentence.