Man jailed for raping his partner's young son in the shower

Ms Justice Ring said this case highlighted the importance of social, personal and health discussions in schools, which had led to the boy confiding in his teacher about the sexual abuse
Man jailed for raping his partner's young son in the shower

Isabel Hayes and Eimear Dodd

A man who raped his partner's seven-year-old son in the shower has been jailed for eight years.

The 48-year-old man, who can't be named to protect the identity of his victim, was found guilty of one count of rape and one count of sexually assaulting the boy on a date between May 1st, 2016 and September 30th, 2016 following a Central Criminal Court trial last July.

The child, then aged seven, was showering in his home when the man came in and told the boy his mother had said he should shower with him. The man then sexually assaulted and raped the child, the court heard.

The man was in a relationship with the boy's mother at the time and occasionally stayed overnight, a local detective garda told the man's sentence hearing.

The offence came to light a few years later when the boy, then aged 10, confided in his teacher that he had been sexually abused. The boy's mother was then informed and she immediately contacted gardaí.

Sentencing the man on Wednesday, Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring said the accused had been in a "position of trust" due to his relationship with the boy's mother.

She said the relationship between the accused and the boy's mother was serious, even if it was short in length and the man could have been seen as a person he was safe with.

Ms Justice Ring said the accused had also deceived the boy by telling him that his mother said he should shower with him. She imposed an eight-year prison sentence for the count of rape and three years and six months for the sexual assault, to run concurrently.

Ms Justice Ring said this case highlighted the importance of social, personal and health discussions in schools, which had led to the boy confiding in his teacher about the sexual abuse. She commended the boy's teacher and school leadership for listening to him and acting.

In a victim impact statement which she read out in court, the boy's mother said she would never forget the day she was called to the school. "My mouth went dry and my head started spinning," she said.

She said her son, now aged 14, was robbed of his childhood and forced to grow up "physically and mentally". She said he is completely isolated, has no friends and does not play the sports he used to love as he can not be near adult males.

A psychiatric report handed into court outlined a number of issues the boy has experienced since the attack.

Ms Justice Ring commended the boy for his participation in the legal process, which would be "daunting for an adult without challenges". The boy and his mother were present in court for the finalisation the case.

The court heard the man has one previous conviction for facilitating the sexual exploitation of a child and was handed a three-year suspended jail sentence. The court heard the man was arrested in the wake of a sting operation carried out by a vigilante group in which he arranged to meet someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl. This offence occurred after the assault on the boy.

Speaking directly to the victim, Ms Justice Ring wished him well for the future and commended him for talking to his teachers, adding that if he had any problems in the future, his mother and teachers would be available.

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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