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Cork man sexually assaulted friend's young daughter three times

CourtsBy Sunday World
Cork man sexually assaulted friend's young daughter three times

A Cork man has been jailed for two years for sexually assaulting his friend's daughter.

The man (44), who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three counts of sexual assault on two dates between January and November 2013 at addresses in Limerick and Co Clare.

On Tuesday last (May 3) a jury of seven men and five women returned a unanimous verdict of guilty.

Sentencing yesterday, Judge Patricia Ryan suspended the last year of a three-year prison sentence on condition he keep the peace for three years after his release. He was also placed on the sex offenders register.

Prosecuting counsel Gerardine Small BL told the court that the families were good friends and would see each other on a regular basis.

Two of the offences took place while the then 11-year-old victim was having a sleep-over with her brother and sister at the house the accused shared with his wife. A third incident happened at an address in Co. Clare when she was aged 12.

During the trial, a DVD of the victim’s interview with Gardai was shown to the court. In it she described the first offence in which the accused sat her on his lap, opened her trousers and began stroking her vagina. “He was rubbing me, like you would do to a cat”, she said.

The victim said she felt very uncomfortable and tried to find a reason to leave. She told him she was going upstairs to her brother and sister and she left the room.

The man later went upstairs to the room where the victim’s brother and sister were playing computer and she was asleep on a bed. She said he told her to go into another room to sleep. He then followed her into the room where he sexually assaulted her a second time.

A third incident happened in October 2013 at a house in Co. Clare.

The victim initially told her brother what had happened before telling her mother, who then made contact with the defendant and his wife. The accused denied any wrongdoing when the allegations were put to him by the victim’s mother. The Gardai were then informed.

A garda witness testified that when he arrested the accused he said the accusations were being made up by the family because they had fallen out over an incident relating to a mobile phone.

A victim impact report was given to Judge Ryan but was not read in court. Ms Small said it detailed the difficulties the now 14-year-old faced with sleeping and her fearfulness of older men.

She said she felt as though the offences were her fault and that she had done something wrong. The victim said she wanted to move on with her life. She was doing her Junior Cert this year and wanted to focus on that.

Defending, Conor Devally SC, asked the judge to view the offences at the middle to lower end of the scale. He said the man’s wife would be impacted by his conviction and that the family’s standing in the community would be adversely affected.

Judge Ryan said the aggravating factors were that the defendant was a close family friend who was in a position of trust and that trust was breached. She also took into account the young age of the victim at the time and the lasting impact the offences had had on her life.

Judge Ryan said the mitigating factors included his lack of previous convictions.

By Jennifer Ryan