Porter in a storm | 

Hospital refuses to confirm if porter convicted of assaulting child 40 years ago has been fired

Restrictions on publishing the identity of Wexford General Hospital porter Ray Roche were lifted last week at the request of his victim
Ray Roche was found guilty on two charges.

Ray Roche was found guilty on two charges.

Patrick O'Connell

A hospital has refused to say whether it has terminated the employment of a porter - who has been convicted of indecently assaulting an eight-year-old girl almost 40 years ago.

Restrictions on publishing the identity of Wexford General Hospital porter Ray Roche were lifted last week at the request of his victim - causing shockwaves across the town and in the hospital where he has worked for decades.

Roche (53) was aged 14 when he perpetrated the indecent assaults on the then eight-year-old girl.

Approached by the Sunday World on Thursday of this week, Roche refused to comment on his convictions or on his employment status at the hospital.

"I can't comment man, I can't say anything," he said.

"Are you still working in the hospital?" Our reporter asked.

"Go away," he responded.

Ray Roche was found guilty on two charges.

Ray Roche was found guilty on two charges.

Contacted by the Sunday World, Wexford General Hospital referred queries regarding Roche's employment status to the Ireland East Hospital Group.

In its response, the IEHG spokesperson said: "The Ireland East Hospital Group, our hospitals and the HSE cannot comment on individual patient or employee matters."

Last week, Judge Cormac Quinn lifted the restriction barring the publication of Roche's identity at the request of his victim.

The request came after Roche received a suspended sentence on each of two counts of indecently assaulting a female in incidents dating back to the 1980s.

He was found not guilty on six other counts.

Prosecution barrister, Sinead Gleeson applied for an order lifting the bar on identifying Roche, stating that the woman, who was aged under 10 when repeatedly assaulted, had no difficulty with the public naming of her assailant.

Roche had pleaded not guilty to charges alleging the sexual assault in 1981 to early 1982.

The incidents occurred on evenings when the girl's parents were playing cards.

The girl was eight or nine at the time, while Roche had just turned 14 and it was suggested that the offences continued for a year.

Prosecuting barrister, Ray Boland explained that the age of criminal responsibility was 14 as the law stood at the time. On the first day of evidence, the complainant told how, on the nights that her parents were at cards, she was minded by the defendant. The first incident occurred, she recalled, when she was asleep and he arrived, fully clothed, into her bedroom. He roused her and told her to push over in the bed, she stated.

Her evidence was that she had her back to him while he started to hug her and was 'grinding' behind her with the zip of his trousers pressed into her back. She remembered smelling smoke off him and that her nightie was up to her waist.

When he had finished, he left the room. The complainant felt that this behaviour was repeated quite frequently after that and that it was always dark, so it must have occurred during the winter months.

She added that she felt at the time it was not right but the defendant called it 'fun'.

Her testimony was that all the misbehaviour occurred in the bedroom except on one occasion. This time she remembered being in the 'good room' of the house. Her memory was of being pushed over and down onto the couch with its musty-smelling cushions.

That, she alleged, was the only time Roche ever got on top of her, from behind. It was particularly painful, she felt, because his penis had penetrated her.

Under questioning, the complainant recalled how she had attended counselling in 2013 and told her counsellor that she had been abused by Roche. She had further counselling at the Rape Crisis Centre and subsequently made a statement to gardaí on the matter in December of 2016.

Mr Delaney for the defence, argued that the evidence against his client was vague and inconsistent. He noted that at one point the injured party told a counsellor that Roche was 13 years of age when the abuse occurred.

After four-and-a-half hours of deliberation, the jury found Roche guilty on two and not guilty on the remaining six.

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