A paedophile with a fetish for young girls in school uniform, used threats of violence and blackmail to sexually abuse one such schoolgirl over a two-year period.
Agricultural contractor Alan Feehily (27) from Milebush, Castlebar, was described as ‘pure evil’ by his victim, who said he had used her ‘like a puppet’ to perform degrading sexual acts.
Feehily pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court last November to four sample charges of defilement of a child aged under 15 years of age at various locations in Co Galway on dates between January 1, 2013, and October 12, 2014, while the facts in another nine similar charges were admitted.
Detective Adrian Fehily told the sentence hearing the girl was aged between 14 and 17 and the accused was aged between 22 and 24 at the time the offences occurred.
He said Feehily became acquainted with the girl when she was 14 through another person and disapproved when he heard she had a 15-year-old boyfriend.
He threatened to tell her parents about the boy if she didn’t give him a kiss. The girl refused but he kept threatening her. She finally relented and kissed him. The threats became more aggressive after that and Feehily blackmailed her by threatening to tell her parents she had kissed him.
Detective Fehily said that he began bringing her to school in his car and would wait after school to bring her home. He drove her to various locations and used threats of violence to get her to perform sexual acts on him in his car against her will while she was wearing her school uniform.
Detective Fehily said the seriousness of the sexual assaults progressed until one day, Feehily demanded the girl have full sexual intercourse with him after he had collected her from school. He said Feehily created rules that the victim had to obey.
She would have to ring him daily to let him know where she was and what she was doing and would have to reply to his persistent text messages within ten minutes.
He demanded she take pictures of herself naked and video herself performing sexual acts before forwarding the content to his phone. He used these images to blackmail her further.
The abuse ended when the girl attended a school friend’s 18th birthday party where there was no phone coverage. Feehily picked her up from the party and was aggressive towards her because she hadn’t phoned him or answered his texts.
She confided in the friend and soon after the Gardaí were contacted.
In her victim impact statement, the girl, who was present in court, said her life had been turned upside down by the accused.
She said school became a blur and her grades slipped as she became ‘fixated with staying alive’.
“While my friends were all having fun, I was being forced every day – like a puppet – into degrading sexual acts against my will. I was completely ashamed and degraded.
“He was pure evil. I was forced to grow up fast and I lost six years of my life. I have suffered since I was 14 … While I know now that I will make it, I still find it hard to tell my story. There were times when I was not believed, even by people in authority. He has taken so many things, like safety and security from me and filled me with shame and fear, but he has not taken away the person I am. I will never be afraid of the truth again,” the girl’s victim impact statement concluded.
Judge Rory McCabe said there was compelling evidence of conduct that constituted grooming and that conduct had escalated to manipulation, domination, threats and aggression.
The judge said Feehily had subjected the girl to a pattern of abuse of the grossest kind and he had maintained to the present day that it was all consensual. “I have no difficulty in rejecting that,” judge McCabe said.
He said Feehily’s conduct demonstrated ‘a dangerous propensity for aggression and manipulation to a very high degree’. The duration of the offending and the clear premeditation were seen as aggravating factors.
The victim, Judge McCabe said, had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a direct result of the years of sexual trauma she had suffered from a young age.
Noting the maximum sentence for the offence of defilement of a child was five years, Judge McCabe indicated that a four-year sentence for each offence was appropriate.
However, he adjourned finalisation of that sentence to May 10 and remanded Feehily in custody until that date, and he directed the probation officer to complete a full risk assessment in the interim.