A man who carried a child that had been sleeping in her tent to another tent where he raped her has been given a six and a half year sentence.
The man (27), who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, raped the then 16-year-old girl at a party in an isolated rural area. She was woken by being carried out of her tent by the man, who also orally raped her during the incident.
The Central Criminal Court heard that after being raped, the girl returned to the party where she was shouted at by adult women who effectively blamed her for what happened.
The court heard that when she was later examined in hospital, she was found to have extensive injuries.
The man had pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and oral rape at a location in Co Leitrim on a date between July 11th, 2020, and July 12th, 2020. He was convicted of both charges by the unanimous verdict of a jury following a trial in February 2022. He has no previous convictions.
Suffered great harm
Passing sentence on Friday, Mr Justice Michael MacGrath said it was clear the injured party had suffered great harm as a result of the accused man’s actions and said that the man’s level of culpability was high.
Mr Justice MacGrath set a headline sentence of eight year imprisonment.
He noted in mitigation factors including his lack of convictions and previous good character, that he had offered to plead guilty to child defilement and references before the court describing him as a good man, hard workers and that he was dedicated to family and friends.
He noted the man’s difficult family circumstances and said he was taking into account exceptional circumstances in the form of care needed for a member of the accused man’s family.
Justice MacGrath imposed a six and half year sentence and suspended the final 15 months on conditions including that the man not contact the victim directly or in directly, or through any third party by any means including social media.
'Used and exploited'
In her victim impact statement, which was read before the court, the now 18-year-old victim said that back in 2020 she was a “boisterous” girl full of love for everyone around her.
The victim said she had grown up knowing the accused man because of their families. She said she had known him when she was a little kid and asked him how he could have done this.
She said she had been “used and exploited” and felt disgusted about her body in the aftermath. She said he had not only hurt her, but had hurt her family as well.
The victim said she never deserved this and never deserved this pain. She said she wished she could take things back and not go to the party.
She said he had ruined her future, but she would not give up. She said she was “a fighter and would keep fighting”.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.
In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.