A Cork man who was jailed today for indecently assaulting two young brothers in the 1980s “batted off our accusations like they were nothing,” one of the victims said.
The victim was commenting today on the trial earlier this year where 53-year-old Cormac Keating, of Urard, Urlington, Thurles, County Tipperary, and originally from Cork, denied the charges but was convicted of indecently assaulting both boys. The victims wanted Keating, who works in the paint business, to be identified in coverage of the case.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin sentenced him to three years with half of the sentence suspended at Cork Circuit Criminal Court today, commenting that the accused was aged from 19 to his early twenties and the victims were aged from four to nine at the time of the abuse.
One of the victims said, “It was one of the hardest, most soul-destroying things I have ever done, having to relay years of abuse as a child, in detail, to a room full of strangers.” Detective Garda Seán Stack said, when asked by defence senior counsel Elizabeth O’Connell, that the accused would be a low risk re-offending. He had no other convictions of any kind.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said, “Between the defendant and the victims there was a considerable age gap. He was in his late teens to early twenties the boys were just out of infancy when the offences took place.” The judge said he did not doubt for one minute the adverse influence the defendant had on the lives of the two injured parties.
Ms O’Connell SC said one of the victims disclosed his complaint first in the 1980s but his family chose not to confront Mr Keating about it. Ms O’Connell said that had they done so at the time, everything the defendant had built of in his life in the past 30 years would not have been destroyed by the complaints being made to gardaí so much later, in 2017.
In the trial two months ago, the accused had totally denied any indecent assault on any child. Questioned by his own lawyer, Ms O’Connell SC, during the trial, the defendant said on the allegations, firstly, that he molested one of the complainants when he was a child, he replied,
“Absolutely not. I would have no inclination to go at a child like that. Not at all… I had no inclination like that towards children. To this day I would be disgusted by things like that.” One of the complainants described waking up with the accused standing by his bed with his hand over his mouth saying, ‘shut the f*** up’, and had his other hand on the boy’s penis.
He replied, “Absolutely not. I would not touch a child in that way, ever, no way.” The second complainant described the defendant having his trousers down and telling the boy to bend over a bed with his bottom sticking up but that a car pulled up outside the house and the defendant panicked. He replied, “I don’t know how to answer. I would be disgusted (with something like that). I had a normal relationship with those boys.” The defendant said he interacted with children all his life in a normal way and described himself as a normal person, getting married and having a family more than 20 years ago.
Ms O’Connell said the complainants alleged that the defendant played the soccer board game, Subbuteo, with them but used it as a mask for molesting them by hiding the little ball in their trousers and searching for it. “I did not molest children in that way. Absolutely not... I find the whole thing absolutely disgusting. I would never do that kind of thing to a child at all at all. I have had access to children all my life and there was never any allegation like that,” he said.
The first victim spoke of his anguish at being unable to protect his younger brother from the defendant.
He also said, “Cormac Keating’s friendly manner and likeable character won over all my family and he soon became a trusted ‘uncle’ figure. He would buy us sweets and rent out movies.
“When he started molesting me, I thought that I could make him stop by threatening to tell my mother or by telling him that my Grandad would beat him up. However, he was always one step ahead of me and every tactic I could think of.
“He showed no remorse. He had an assurance and confidence that he would be believed over us… He batted off our accusations like they were nothing.
“It was one of the hardest, most soul-destroying things I have ever done, having to relay years of abuse as a child, in detail, to a room full of strangers.
“My torment is not going to end once sentence is passed on Mr Keating. He has damaged me so much that I feel that I will never escape what he has done to me.” The second victim said, “Cormac Keating sexually molested me from when I was four until I was nine years old. He stopped me from telling my parents by constantly threatening my families’ lives, through fear and intimidation.
“Because Cormac Keating is protesting his innocence this has been extremely hard on me as it has been such a drawn out process. The court case was one of the hardest and most demeaning things I have done in my life. I had to relive everything in a room full of strangers while my character and truthfulness was being attacked. The whole process I was put through made me feel like I was being abused again.”