Man (57) jailed for 30 months for abuse of 10-year-old girl
Judge says the accused is guilty of a huge breach of trust of a highly vulnerable child
Garda tells court the victim was sleeping upstairs on a mattress when one of the incidents happened.
A man (57) who abused a 10-year-old girl being raised in foster care by a relative has been jailed for 30 months.
The man has also been ordered to stay away from North Kerry for a period of six years upon his release from prison.
The man, who can’t be named to protect the identity of his victim, had denied a total of four counts of sexually assaulting the young girl on dates in 2014 and 2015 but was convicted by the jury on two charges after the trial judge directed acquittal on two of the counts.
On Wednesday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, a Garda witness outlined the nature of the abuse and told how the girl was doing her homework at her foster home when the man, who was a relative of her foster mother, came in and put his hand up under t-shirt and began groping her breast.
The second offence occurred when the girl was staying at the man’s house and sleeping upstairs on a mattress when he came into her room late at night, wearing only a pair of boxer shorts and socks, and lay down on the top of the girl who was lying face down on the mattress.
The man started to move up and down on top of her and she felt what was like a rock move up and down on her back and a subsequent examination by forensic scientists of the girl’s hoodie confirmed a sample of the man’s semen was found on the garment, said the Garda.
Victim impact statement
The girl, who testified by video link during a five day trial at the Washington Street Courthouse in Cork in November because of the lack of video link facilities in Kerry, was not in court for the sentencing but a victim impact statement was read out by the investigating Garda on her behalf.
In the statement, the girl, who is now aged 14, told how she was scared that she would see the man around their home place in North Kerry and how she had harmed herself by hitting her arms against walls and doors due to anxiety and stress caused by the sexual assault.
Cross-examined by defence counsel, Tom Creed SC, the investigating Garda confirmed the man had no previous convictions prior to these two offences and he had moved out of the north Kerry area after he was charged but prior to the matter coming to trial last November.
Judge Sean O Donnabhain said the second assault where the man lay on top of the girl was the more serious but both represented a huge breach of trust by a man who was much older than his highly vulnerable victim due to her dysfunctional family background.
The judge said he believed the headline sentence should be one of four years but given the man had no previous convictions and had moved away from north Kerry, these were both mitigating factors and he was prepared to suspend a portion of the sentence.
The judge said he would suspend the final 18 months of the four years term on condition that the man would give an undertaking to stay out of North Kerry for a period of six years upon his release and seek the permission of gardaí if he had to return for any urgent family matter.
The accused confirmed that he was willing to give such an undertaking and he was sentenced to four years in jail with the final 18 months suspended and the sentence backdated to November 23rd when he was first taken into custody following his conviction after the trial.
There were angry scenes after the court case when relatives of the defendant accused relatives of the complainant of applauding the sentence.
Gardai had to intervene and restore calm after both sides traded insults and verbal abuse in the hall of the courthouse.