Writer gets suspended sentence for abuse of boy

 

PROMINENT WRITER Desmond Hogan has been given a two-year suspended jail sentence, placed on the sex offenders register and ordered not to have unsupervised contact with children after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

Judge Carroll Moran noted the risk of Hogan reoffending was “moderate to low” and said he believed that society would benefit more from Hogan continuing with therapeutic treatment that he was currently receiving than from the writer being imprisoned.

Ballinasloe-born Hogan (58), who formerly lived at Back Lane, East End, Ballybunion, Co Kerry, had pleaded guilty at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court in July 2008 to sexually assaulting the 15-year- old on November 11th, 2006, at a house he was renting in the seaside town.

At that earlier hearing, Sgt Michael McCarthy said the injured party was one of three boys who visited Hogan at his home where the assault took place when the victim’s friends left to go to a shop.

Hogan’s probation officer Nora Brassil told an earlier hearing that Hogan had made it clear to her he saw the incident with the young boy as “a mutual sexual incident/ relationship” and she expressed concern he might reoffend if he did not see what he had done was wrong.

Judge Moran adjourned the matter on a number of occasions to allow Hogan to be assessed and receive treatment at the Granada Institute.

Yesterday he was presented by Hogan’s defence team with a report on the writer prepared by the institute.

Anthony Sammon SC, defending, requested Judge Moran not to read out the report as it contained matters of great privacy in which Hogan had bared his soul with regard to his formative years and Judge Moran agreed.

Mr Sammon noted that assessment staff at the institute had concluded Hogan had suffered a lot during his formative years and that he “now suffered greatly from alienation and isolation and from serious problems of consistent depression”.

Describing Hogan as “a very complex person”, Mr Sammon said he had no previous convictions and had not come to Garda attention since.

He suggested he would benefit more from working with an understanding probation officer than from jail.

Judge Moran noted that the assault consisted of one incident and there was no question of serial abuse, as was often the case with those before the courts on charges of sexual assault of minors.

“This is a very serious matter . . . this was an incident with a young boy who was under age, it’s completely unacceptable, it was an abuse of a relationship between a young boy and a considerably older man,” Judge Moran said.

However, he believed society would benefit more from Hogan continuing with his treatment than from sending him to jail where he might meet like-minded people serving sentences for similar offences.

“He is a person with a complex make-up and if he continues his underlying therapeutic treatment, in all the circumstances, society is probably better served than if he is sent to jail,” Judge Moran said.

He ordered that Hogan, a former winner of both the Hennessy Award and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, be placed on the register of sex offenders while he also imposed a number of conditions on him.

These included that he have no unsupervised contact with children under 18, that he commit no crime of any kind, that he co-operates with the Probation Service regarding the institute’s recommendations and that he not stay in Kerry “in ease of the injured party”.