A WOMAN made a complaint two years ago that she had been sexually abused by a man when she was aged 7 to 10 but when the investigation commenced it emerged that the accused had confessed to these very crimes 24 years ago.
The victim had never known of this 1997 confession until it emerged during the most recent investigation.
Ultimately, the 67-year-old defendant pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to rape the child and 19 counts of indecent or sexual assault, mainly in the late 1980s.
Detective Garda Brian Morris said the abuse which occurred in a number of locations saw the defendant touching the child’s vagina and masturbating himself. The most serious offence consisted of attempted rape where he removed all of her clothing and lay her down on his coat in a field and attempted to have full sexual intercourse with the child. He stopped when the victim said it was hurting her.
The defendant was arrested and questioned at the beginning of 2020 when he admitted the attempted rape and all the counts of indecent/sexual assault.
Detective Garda Morris said, “He informed gardaí that in 1997 he confessed to gardaí he abused her. The file from 1997 was retrieved.
“Back in 1997 he does admit sexually abusing (victim’s name) and attempting to have full vaginal sex. In that interview, he described her as a kind, innocent and vulnerable child.
“He told the child that what he was doing to her was their little secret and not to tell anyone about it.
“When he made this admission in 1997 she would have been 16. Unknown to (victim’s name) until very recently, gardaí approached her mother (about these allegations) and she refused to give gardaí permission to interview her,” the detective said.
The victim said, “I was an innocent little girl and he stole my happy childhood when I turned about seven.
“He told me no one would believe me if I told of what happened. This stayed with me for about 30 years.
“I always felt I did something wrong. I spent all my life feeling ashamed, feeling I will never ever get over it. His guilty plea means nothing to me… I hope he gets the maximum sentence possible.”
She thanked gardaí for the way in which they handled her complaint, saying that in their approach to her, “I never was made to feel anything except a strong survivor.”
Defence senior counsel Roisín Lacey said the accused had been exposed to violence in his childhood. She said there was an extraordinary background of fulsome admissions which she said went back to 1995 and was followed up with admissions to gardaí in 1997.
Ms Lacey presented background reports on the accused which showed that he had a high level of victim empathy. In a letter written by the accused, he said there was not a day that passed when he did not regret his actions.
The defence senior counsel said, “For the last 30 years he has lived a blameless life.”
Det Garda Morris said these offences were committed when the accused was aged from 33 to 37. He was convicted in another case of sexual abuse of a child from around the same period and served a substantial prison sentence.
Mr Justice Michael McGrath adjourned the sentencing hearing until November 25 at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.