A PENSIONER was jailed for three years today for sexually assaulting his granddaughter once a week for almost two years.
The victim wanted the accused to be named but because there were other granddaughters who could be inadvertently identified as the victim, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said he had to make an order against identification of the accused.
The judge said he understood the young woman’s desire to have him named but he said that in the circumstances where there were other granddaughters that could be identified as the victim he had to order against it.
Detective Garda Denise Fitzgerald said the injured party was sexually assaulted from the ages of 11 to 13 at five different locations, including her family home, his house and his car.
The nature of the sexual abuse was that he put his hand under her top and felt her stomach and breast area and on occasions felt her thighs.
The child was terrified and did not know what to do and she said that he would always try to find some way to be on his own with her.
The victim told her mother who believed her and contacted the gardaí but the whole family split when it came to light.
The 67-year-old apologised and made full admissions.
Now 16 years old, the injured party’s victim impact statement was read in court by Det Garda Fitzgerald.
She said her grandfather tried to normalise the abuse by talking about everyday things when he was sexually assaulting her.
“I never understood why my grandfather did this to me. I have lost all relationships with my mother’s side of the family,” she said.
Defence senior counsel Alice Fawsitt said the defendant acknowledged that his conduct had caused division in the family.
“He knows what he did is wrong. He cannot explain why he did it. He has broken up his family,” Ms Fawsitt SC said.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said, “The number of offences is significant. These offences went on for two years. The age difference is huge, as is the breach of trust.”
The judge said that children’s reliance on grandparents was fundamental and that if that broke down the family was thrown into chaos as well as the hurt caused to the victim.
The judge said the victim was publically and permanently vindicated that everything she had said was correct and that what her grandfather did was wrong.
The sentence of three years was backdated a fortnight to mark the time already spent in custody.
The judge concluded, “She cannot understand why he did it. She knows he knows he had no right to do it.”
The accused pleaded guilty to eleven sample charges.