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05 Jul 2022

Man who sexually abused a boy he mentored in his Midlands GAA club is jailed for nine years

 Man who sexually abused a boy he mentored in his Midlands GAA club is jailed for nine years

Criminal Courts of Justice

A man who groomed and sexually abused a boy he mentored in their local GAA club in the midlands has been jailed for nine years.

The man (41), who cannot be named for legal reasons, abused the boy over a six-year period. He also beat the boy when he began to refuse his advances. The now 30-year-old victim, who was not in court today, does not wish to waive his right to anonymity in the case.

The Central Criminal Court heard the man was extradited from the United States a number of years ago to face the charges, and has been in custody since that date.

The man pleaded guilty to sample counts including attempted rape, seven counts of anal rape, four counts of sexual assault, two counts of assault causing harm and one of harassment at various locations in dates between 2004 and 2010.

The court heard that 71 other charges from the same period are being taken into account for sentencing. The offences took place at locations including the man's home, at a sports grounds in the Midlands and a hotel in Dublin.

Passing sentence today, Monday December 20, Justice Michael MacGrath imposed concurrent sentences totally ten and half years having indicated that a headline sentence of 13.5 years would be appropriate in the case.

He said he reduced the sentence by three years having taken into account the man’s plea of guilty, the remorse he has exhibited, a lack of previous convictions and other personal circumstances as outlined in a psychological report before the court, including that he appears to have gained insight into the impact on the victim.

Mr Justice MacGrath imposed concurrent sentences of two and half years for the sexual assault  offences, two years for the assault causing harm offences and three years for the harassment offence.

The final 18 months of the ten-and half-year term was suspended on strict conditions including that the man engage with the Probation Service upon his release from prison. Mr Justice MacGrath ordered that the man undergo two years of post-release supervision. He further ordered that the man have no communication with the victim for a period of 10 years.

At an earlier sentence hearing last July, the man read from his victim impact statement in which he outlined the physical violence he suffered at the hand of the accused in addition to the sexual abuse.

He said the man stole his soul, his innocence and his belief and he suffered a lost childhood. He was left isolated and alone and when he finally refused to be exploited by the man, the accused continued to contact him on a regular basis, harassing and threatening him.

Mr Justice McGrath said the man had groomed the teenager by initially buying him presents and then taking him out for dinner. He would also be in contact with him regularly throughout the day via text messages.

The judge noted that as a result of the abuse the teenager ceased playing a sport in which “he had clearly exhibited great skill and ambition”.

The victim said in his statement that the man grabbed and squeezed him by the wrist, kicked and spat at him and pulled his hair. One such assault happened in a restaurant in front of others, which the judge noted would have been humiliating for the teenager at the time.

The victim was also subjected to threats, which Mr Justice MacGrath said had sinister undertones, with the accused implying he could “bring in people from other parts of the country” to carry out those threats.

The judge said this added to the teenager’s “sense of vulnerability” and the threats escalated to not only serious harm but also that “something worse could happen”.

The teenager outlined how his mental well-being and sleep patterns were affected by the abuse. He contemplated taking his own life, suffered mood swings, depression and a lack of motivation. He was prescribed medication for some time but he didn’t like being on it.

The man said he had problems with trusting people as a result of the abuse and although he has attempted counselling, it has not been successful as it makes him feel vulnerable.

Mr Justice MacGrath said he takes some “solace” in the fact that the man has managed to obtain a masters degree “but not without a struggle”.

He noted that the victim concluded in his statement that “despite everything that happened, he has now faced his adversity” and is looking forward to his future.

At a previous sentencing hearing, a local detective told Anne Rowland SC, prosecuting, that the accused met his victim - then a boy in fourth class and 11 years his junior - while coaching GAA at his primary school, and “became friendly” with him.

The detective said the boy’s father had “quite a difficult drink problem,” and his mother was working long hours to support the family, and he “came to look on [the accused] as another parent”.

Around five weeks before Christmas 2003, when the boy was 12 and in his first year at secondary school, the man offered him a job helping out with his work as a part-time journalist and photographer for the GAA. 

The man would pay him around €100 a week, gave him the use of a laptop, and would take him out for meals and to buy clothes, he said. The injured party felt they were “very good friends” and they would text three or four times a day.

In summer 2004, at a sports ground in the Midlands when the boy was 13, the man put his hand on the boy’s penis outside his clothes. He then made the boy perform oral sex for five or ten minutes until he ejaculated.

After that, the detective said, the accused put his hand into the boy’s underwear and started masturbating him until he ejaculated, saying: “It’s not so bad, is it?”

He attempted to rape the boy at his home in October or November that year, and sexually abused him when he took him for shopping trips in Dublin and London in early 2005.

For his fourteenth birthday, the man bought him a Nokia phone worth over €500 at the time, and had the boy enter his contact details as “Daddy Razor”. He insisted the boy wear clothes he had bought for him, which the court heard were more suited for an older age group.

The physical abuse began in the summer of 2005, when he took the boy to a changing room at a summer camp in the midlands and suggested he masturbate him. When the boy refused, he hit him and split his lip.

After a match in September or October that year, the accused man had the boy shower with him at the sports grounds where a large portion of the abuse had happened. The boy said he did not want to have anal sex, but the man succeeded in penetrating his anus with his penis, though “not far”.

The boy, then aged 14, was “close to tears” he said, feeling “degraded” and “in shock”.

The sexual abuse went on until May 2006, as often as three or four times a week, as the boy continued to work at the sports grounds in the Midlands with the man writing match reports.

When he distanced himself from the man, he was contacted frequently by him – up to 50 calls and 100 texts in a single day on one occasion.

Morgan Shelley BL, defending, said his client has been in custody since January 2019. He said the detective garda accepted previously that his client's guilty pleas were of value.

Counsel said the assaults in this case did not lead to sexual acts, saying the violence happened when sexual activity did not take place. He said there was no “additional gratuitous humiliation or violence”.

He said a report from the Probation Service stated his client demonstrated some awareness of the effect of his offending on the victim. He said the report assessed his client as being at a moderate risk of reoffending.

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