Pensioner jailed for sexual abuse of teenage boy more than 20 years ago

Thomas Larkin (70) with an address at John Street, Ardee, Co Louth, pleaded guilty to four counts of committing acts of gross indecency against the then 15-year-old boy.
Pensioner jailed for sexual abuse of teenage boy more than 20 years ago

Isabel Hayes

A pensioner who groomed and sexually abused a teenage boy more than 20 years ago has been jailed for 12 months.

Thomas Larkin (70) with an address at John Street, Ardee, Co Louth, pleaded guilty to four counts of committing acts of gross indecency against the then 15-year-old boy on dates between January 1999 and June 2000. Larkin was 47 years old at the time.

The complainant, who can't be named to protect his anonymity, came forward to gardaí after coverage of the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse case triggered memories of the abuse he had suffered at the hands of Larkin.

Larkin was arrested in 2016 and made admissions to gardaí, apologised and said he shouldn't have done it.

He then decided to stand trial and took a number of trial dates before eventually pleading guilty last November.

Sentencing Larkin on Friday, Judge Melanie Greally said that as a result of the delay, the injured party “had to face the prospect of giving evidence and reliving these offences over an extended period of time”.

She noted there was an element of grooming involved in the offence, with Larkin giving the boy cigarettes and sweets.

The victim was “a young man who, by reason of the difficulties of his life, enjoyed the attention he received from Larkin, a much older man”, the judge said.

The complainant “powerfully and articulately” expressed the effects the abuse had on his life, his relationships and his work, Judge Greally said.

Judge Greally noted Larkin is now 70 years old and a pensioner.

“But I am of the view his exploitative behaviour by an adult man in respect of a vulnerable teenager, whose conduct has had significant consequences for the victim, the principal of deterrence and retribution merit a custodial sentence,” she said.

She handed down a sentence of 12 months.

A local detective told a previous sentence hearing that the abuse occurred when the complainant was 15 and having trouble at home.

Larkin befriended him and sexually abused him on four occasions.

The abuse took the form of masturbation, with Larkin performing oral sex on the teenager on one occasion. He told the boy not to tell anyone what had happened between them.

“I think my life would be better if this had not happened to me,” he said.

“The innocent people around you suffer because they worry that they should have stopped it happening.”

He said: “I feel like this is my fault and that is hard to take.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help. 

In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112. 

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