A Dublin man previously imprisoned for raping a 10-year-old girl will spend an additional four years in prison after he admitted sexually assaulting the child's aunt 20 years ago.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the anonymity of the victims, was sentenced on Monday by Mr Justice Tony Hunt in the Central Criminal Court after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting the complainant on an unknown date between 2003 and 2005.
An investigating garda told the court the victim was aged between 10 and 12 years old at the time of the incident. The man is a distant cousin and was living with her family at the time.
The man was handed an eight year, three month sentence in July for the anal rape of the niece of this complainant in June 2021, when she was also aged 10. The final 12 months of this sentence were suspended on strict conditions.
Giving evidence on Monday in relation to the charge of sexual assault, an investigating garda said the man lay on top of the victim and digitally penetrated her using his fingers.
She kept the incident to herself, but told her sister when she found out the man was being investigated for raping her sister's daughter.
The court heard that when the man was arrested, 26 images were found on his phone in which the woman's face had been superimposed over images of scantily clad women taken from tabloids. He also had an image of her in one of his drawers.
The man accepted ownership of the phone and images, but denied that he had created them.
The woman said she did not want to report the incident at the time because of the position the man held in her family. The court heard the man was a trusted member of the family and “viewed as an uncle".
Victim impact statement
In a victim impact statement read to the court by the woman, she described how the incident “will affect me for the rest of my life".
She said that her mother had raised her to be kind and compassionate, but that the man had taken advantage of these traits. She added that she suffers with anxiety and panic attacks, which became more common leading up to the trial date.
The woman told the court the man had been “like a father figure” and that she hadn't told anyone else about the incident because she felt she was giving the man “a chance to change and become a better person”.
She described feeling an enormous guilt for not telling others after hearing that the man had raped her niece.
In court on Monday, she told the man: “I pity you, but I will never forgive you.”
Mr Justice Hunt thanked her for her statement and said: “When you're very young, you're not able to think things through” and that “he was the person who abuse his trust”.
After the woman gave her victim impact statement, Ronan Munro SC, defending, said: “It's hard not to feel a sense of outrage when she speaks.”
He said the man had been sexually abused as a child and that he had struggled with alcohol and gambling abuse in the past.
Mr Munro also said the man “experiences low mood, guilt and hopelessness on a consistent basis” and that his family is no longer in contact with him.
He said the man had been deemed as being at an above-average level of reoffending but that he expressed remorse and guilt for his actions.
The man has previous convictions for rape, burglary, larceny and breaking and entering.
Mr Justice Hunt said the aggravating factors were that the woman was “a very young child” at the time and that the man “abused his position".
He said the man had caused “very grave damage” and he wished the woman well for the future.
In mitigation, he considered that the man pleaded guilty and suffers from poor health.
He sentenced the man to four years' imprisonment consecutive to the sentence he is already serving.
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.
By David O'Sullivan
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