A former care worker who went on the run after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting his 10-year-old neighbour has been jailed for three years.
The Central Criminal Court heard that on St Patrick's Day 2000 the victim came to the man's house, who was her next-door neighbour, looking to borrow Sellotape to wrap some gifts.
The victim told gardaí that the defendant, who was 30-years-old at the time, went upstairs to look for Sellotape whilst she was playing with his baby on the couch in the sitting room.
When he came downstairs, he told her that he did not have Sellotape and pushed her off the couch. In her complaint to gardaí she detailed how the man then sexually assaulted her.
In 2002 the man pleaded guilty to sexual assault, but he failed to appear for his sentence hearing that year. He was located in the UK in 2019 and was extradited back to Ireland last year.
The defendant, who cannot be named to protect the victim's identity, admitted sexually assaulting the young girl at his home in west Dublin on March 17th, 2000.
After the attack the man asked the girl not to tell anyone about what had happened. However, the young girl returned to her house and told her sister and cousin, who alerted her aunt.
Detective Garda Conor Byrne told Kate Egan BL, prosecuting, that the accused went with his wife to the victim's house later that same day and asked for forgiveness for "the mistake" but denied the allegation.
When he was later arrested by gardaí he admitted touching the victim in a sexual way, but said he had not penetrated her. Det Gda Byrne agreed with Justin McQuade BL, defending, that there was no evidence consistent with penetration but it could not be ruled out.
Passing sentence today, Mr Justice Michael White said that whilst this was a "once-off incident", it was "much more serious than touching".
Mr McQuade said his client had previously trained as a care worker. He noted that his guilty plea in 2002 was "diluted by his behaviour" of absconding to the UK.
Sentencing the defendant today, Mr Justice White said the defendant had visited the child's parents and asked for forgiveness but this was "tempered" by the "diminishing and blatant lack of respect" for the victim, because he had evaded justice for so long.
The judge said the main mitigating factors were his guilty plea, his admissions and the limited remorse he had shown. He backdated a three-year prison sentence to April 19, 2019.