A 15-year-old living in socially isolated circumstances back in 1990 indecently assaulted his three-year-old neighbour and today he was given a suspended sentence of three years.
Now in his mid-forties, the accused man was sentenced by Judge Gerard O’Brien at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The accused had to be re-arraigned for technical reasons today when he confirmed his pleas of guilty to three counts of indecent assault by touching the child’s vagina on different occasions between January 1 and December 31, 1990.
Judge Gerard O’Brien was told that the child was as young as three years of age when the sexual assaults started.
The judge made an order that no media coverage of the case would identify the accused as prosecution barrister Imelda Kelly said it could lead to the identification of the injured party, who was the defendant’s neighbour.
Alice Fawsitt, defence senior counsel, said the accused man had co-operated fully with the garda investigation and that under the probation service he had made immense strides.
Judge O’Brien said: “Without a doubt the most pressing aggravating factor is the infancy of the injured party who was three at the time these incidents commence.
“That brings the proper opprobrium for the defilement of an infant.
“A mitigating factor is the youth of the accused at the time.
“The probation report finds that he was socially and educationally isolated with little contact with anyone other than those in his family.
“There are very positive probation reports which indicate that he has achieved a greater understanding of the offences with which he is charged.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel in terms of his appreciation of the impact of the events.
“I found the probation reports extremely helpful. I think it is important to note that their assistance has brought him to where he is.
“He co-operated with gardaí. The investigating guard gave very fair evidence. It was extremely fair in a very difficult case.”
The judge said in relation to the injured party that her victim impact report presented to the court a year ago had been impressive and he said, “I certainly hope she has been in a position to move on.”
Judge O’Brien suspended the three years on condition that the accused would commit no offences for the next five years, this lengthy period set in order to assist in his rehabilitation.