Longford youth sentenced for raping his former babysitter

A Longford youth has been sentenced to eight years in jail, with the final four suspended, for raping his former babysitter as she slept in her bed.

The then 17-year-old was at a gathering in the victim’s house at the time of the incident.

She had gone to sleep beside her boyfriend and woke up to the accused having sex with her.

The youth, who is now 19, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape at the woman’s home in Longford on June 21, 2011.

He has 33 previous convictions, including burglary and assault.

Mr Justice Paul Carney declared the man a sex offender before commenting that “on all sides of the house, this case is about drink in stupefying quantities”.

He said that the man had also disqualified himself from one of the “most fruitful sources of mercy”, as he had previous convictions.

Mr Justice Carney said the woman was “entitled to sanctity, safety and security in her own home and bed”.

He noted that the man had previously been warned off going into the room but nonetheless returned and locked her bedroom door.

He sentenced him to eight years in prison and suspended the last four, having taken into account his plea of guilty, his youth at the time and the acceptance of the Director of Public Prosecutions that the offence was at the lower range of offending.

Mr Justice Carney ordered the teenager undergo 18 months post-release supervision, “stay away from his victim in perpetuity” and undergo a sex offender’s treatment programme.

A local garda told prosecuting counsel Pauline Walley SC that there was a gathering of friends and neighbours in the victim’s house that day and everyone was drinking heavily.

The teen arrived at the house with his father. Both were very drunk on arrival and continued drinking there.

The victim, a middle-aged woman with several adult children, knew the boy because she used to babysit him when he was younger.

She decided to go to bed where she fell asleep beside her partner. A friend of the woman later spotted the accused go into her bedroom and told him to get out.

Later on, in the early hours of the morning, the victim awoke to find the teen having sex with her. She screamed and her partner woke up and chased the rapist into a neighbour’s house.

Gardaí were called and arrived minutes later to find the boy being held in the house. He was very drunk and could not be interviewed until the morning.

His father was passed out when gardaí arrived and could not be woken. The teen’s mother was contacted but refused to accompany him to the garda station.

Over the course of four interviews he denied raping or having sex with the woman and said that she must be lying. He later pleaded guilty before a trial.

The court heard that when he entered his guilty plea the woman broke down crying for 20 minutes due to the relief of not having to endure a trial.

A victim impact report from the woman stated she has not been the same since the attack and has contemplated suicide several times. She said she is no longer a confident person and can’t go out or be in the house on her own.

Defence counsel Aileen Donnelly SC said her client had a very dysfunctional upbringing. She said his father is an alcoholic and his mother is not in his life.

Counsel added that the youth has a mild mental handicap and very poor communication skills.

On behalf of the State, Ms Walley told Mr Justice Carney that the DPP believes it is an aggravating factor that the rape took place in the woman’s own bed which should “a place of safety”.

She also said that a probation report put the teen at a very high risk of sexual reoffending.

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