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Man had sex with teenage girl in church grounds

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44 year-old given seven-year sentence


A MAN who defiled a child with special needs on five occasions over a five month period was sentenced to seven years in jail at last week’s sitting of Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court.
The 44 year-old man, who cannot be named due to reporting restrictions, pleaded guilty to five counts of defilement of a teenage girl which took place in a Mayo town over a five month period in 2015.
The court heard that the female victim was aged between 13 and 14 at the time and the accused had unlawful sexual intercourse with her at a number of locations including the interior of a derelict house, in a shed and in bushes outside a parish church. A garda sergeant explained that the DNA of the accused was found in a condom recovered from the scene of where one of the incidents took place.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, the victim said that as a result of the incidents, she feared staying at home alone and would lock the doors. She added her family would have to accompany her to school.
“I felt everyone was talking about me,” she said in the statement. “I felt a prisoner in my own home. I have lost out on my teenage years and I will never get them back.”
Mr Michael Bowman, senior counsel for the defendant said his client had owned up and took possession of his wrongdoing and had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
In sentencing the man, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said that the age difference involved and the fact that the victim’s vulnerability was known to the accused were significant aggravating factors. He acknowledged that the early plea had been of significant benefit to the State in its prosecution
However, he added that the case was ‘extremely’ serious as it involved the violation of a child by a grown-up. The fact that the accused had engaged in violating his victim on a repeated basis was also a significant aggravating factor, Judge Ó Donnabháin noted.
He imposed a seven year prison sentence but suspended the final three years of the sentence.

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