A paedophile with a fetish for girls in school uniforms, was sentenced to four years in prison last week, with the final year suspended, for sexually assaulting a 14-year old 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 groomed the vulnerable girl and he created a set of rules which she had to follow at all times while under his control.
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.
Garda Adrian Fehily told the initial sentence hearing in January the girl was aged between 14 and 15 years of age and the accused was aged between 22 and 24 at the time the sexual assaults occurred.
He said Feehily became acquainted with the girl when she was 14 through a mutual acquaintance 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 to tell her parents if she didn’t kiss him.
She finally relented and kissed him. After that, the threats became more aggressive and Feehily blackmailed her by threatening to tell her parents she had kissed him.
Garda Fehily said the accused began bringing the girl to school in his car and drove her to various locations before using threats of violence to get her to perform sexual acts on him against her will while she was wearing her school uniform.
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. The court was told Feehily created rules which the victim had to obey.
The abuse ended when the girl attended a friend’s birthday party where there was no phone coverage. Feehily picked her up from the party and was particularly aggressive towards her because she hadn’t phoned him or answered his texts. She confided in her aunt that night and soon after Garda Jessica Chaplin-Dowd and Garda Fehily began their investigation.
Feehily was arrested and his phone seized. Sexually explicit photos and videos of the victim were stored on the device. He was interviewed on six occasions and at all times claimed the sex was consensual. He admitted he had sex with the underage girl on a number of occasions.
‘Ashamed and degraded’
In her victim impact statement, the girl, who was present in court in January, 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. I really do wish to go to college and travel the world someday but he has put all of that on hold,” the girl said.
Mr Bernard Madden SC, defending, said the probation report had found his client’s attitude to be: “Minimisation of offending and lack of empathy for the victim along with a failure to recognise a fetish for a young girl in uniform.” He said his client had assessed as being at ‘low to moderate risk of reoffending’ because of his inability to see the harm of his actions.
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 always maintained it was consensual.
Noting the maximum sentence for the offence of defilement of a child was five years, Judge McCabe indicated a four-year sentence for each offence to be appropriate, giving a 20 percent discount, he said, for the ‘limited’ mitigating factors.
Feehily wrote a letter while in custody which was handed into court. Mr Madden said the letter stated Feehily was now accepting full responsibility for his actions and wanted to offer a full apology to the victim.
Judge McCabe said he hoped Feehily would live up to the expressions of remorse and insight which were contained in the letter. “Only he knows how serious those expressions are,” he said. The judge noted that the most recent probation report placed Feehily at a moderate risk of reoffending in the future.
He then sentenced him to four years in prison on each of the four charges before the court, with the sentences to run concurrently.
To act as both an incentive to rehabilitate and as a deterrent of reoffending, the judge said he would suspend the final year of each sentence for five years.
Placing Feehily on the Sex Offender’s Register for the next eight years, Judge McCabe also directed he was not to reside in the same dwelling as a child aged under 18 years of age or have unsupervised contact with children under 18, post release. He must also provide an address and phone number(s) to the probation service.