A man who raped a 13-year-old girl after a teenage boy had finished having consensual sex with her has claimed that he “honestly did not know” the victim's age.
Michael O'Reilly (29) of St Marys Crescent, Hebron Road, Kilkenny city, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape at a place in Dublin on April 11th, 2021.
At a sentence hearing on Tuesday, Detective Garda Darragh McNally told Fergal Foley BL, prosecuting, that a 17-year-old boy who the victim knew had contacted her on Snapchat and asked her if she could meet up for “feeking”, a “colloquial term for sexual intercourse”.
She agreed to meet for sexual intercourse but when asked by the boy if she would “engage in feeking” with the accused man, she said no and that she wouldn't have anything to do with that.
She and a female friend went to a petrol station and O'Reilly arrived in a car with the teenage boy and a third man. The girls got into the car and the car was driven for about 10 minutes to a gated field.
Everyone got out of the car and walked a little way and the girl and the teenager went behind some bushes and had sexual intercourse.
The court heard that “as soon as the other male had finished, O'Reilly came over and tried to persuade her to engage in sex”.
The girl did not give her consent
The court heard she said no and O'Reilly then went behind her, grabbed her shoulders and forced her down. He took her trousers and underwear off as she struggled and repeatedly asked him to stop.
O'Reilly kept pleading with her to have sex, but she continually refused. He then forced the girl to the ground and raped her.
She was very upset afterwards, the court heard, and her female friend noticed this. The men dropped the two girls back to the petrol station, and they then got on a bus and the victim told her friend what had happened.
She became upset and hysterical and her friend phoned the other man and began shouting at him and abusing him. A woman on the bus overheard the conversation, approached the girls and advised them to report what happened to Gardaí.
The victim did go to Gardaí and O'Reilly was arrested and questioned.
He denied anything to do with the events of the night and when shown the CCTV footage from the bus of the upset girl he said “that's nothing to do with me” and “it doesn't make me feel anything 'cos I didn't do anything”.
He was re-arrested months later when forensic tests results came back matching his DNA to semen taken from the girl's body during a sexual assault treatment examination. He was charged and, in February last, sent forward for trial.
In a letter of apology he claimed he “honestly didn't know” that the girl was aged 13 and said he was ashamed and disgusted with himself.
Victim impact report
In a victim impact report the girl stated that she was a child and “this monster took away my childhood”. She said after the rape she left school and turned to drink and tablets to cope.
“My whole life changed. He took a part of me. I'm hurting so bad. I'll never be myself again,” she wrote.
She said she blamed herself at times and felt so dirty “and even dirtier when people found out”.
After hearing evidence Justice Eileen Creedon adjourned the case to July 10th for finalisation. She remanded O'Reilly in custody to that date.
A charge of engaging in a sexual act with a child, or defilement, was preferred against the teenage boy but a nolle prosequi was entered on March 16th last when O'Reilly pleaded to the rape charge.
Mr Foley told the court that despite their training, the two Garda specialist interviewers found it very difficult to get the victim to use “specific sexual terms such as vagina which she eventually uttered” and that she could not bring herself to say the word “penis” at any point in the interview.
Dt Gda McNally agreed that the girl was “was quite a naive person”. He said that her mother has only recently managed to persuade her to start counselling adding that “she definitely needs it”.
O'Reilly has no previous convictions for sexual offending but has convictions for assault, theft and burglary.
James Dwyer SC, defending, said his client has worked in block-laying and is involved with a boxing club in Kilkenny.
He has boxed competitively at national level with some success and hopes to become a boxing coach in the future.
He asked the court to consider that while this was an horrific offence, there was no brandishing of weapons or use of violence separate to the rape. He said there was also no gratuitous humiliation like in some cases and that it was a once-off incident.
In a letter to the victim O'Reilly stated: “I would like to apologise to you for what happened. I am ashamed and disgusted with myself. I honestly did not know your age.
“I hope you can put what happened behind you and have a good life."
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.
Written by Declan Brennan.
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