Man who sexually assaulted 'vulnerable' 11-year-old girl is jailed for one year

A man who sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl while her mother was away has been jailed for one year.

The 42-year-old man, who can not be named to protect the identity of the child, was found guilty by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury last November of two counts of sexual assault of the girl at his then home on dates between March 18 and April 20, 2008. He has no previous convictions.

The court heard the man had rubbed the child on her chest and legs for about 20 minutes on one occasion and on a second occasion thrust himself against her while her father was in the bathroom.

Paul Greene SC, defending, told the court that the man now accepted the verdict of the jury.

Judge Patricia Ryan said the girl had been very young for something like this to happen to her. She said she had been at a very vulnerable age and was a very vulnerable person.

She noted the man had been in a position of trust but also that he was at low risk of re-offending and had not come to any further adverse attention.

Judge Ryan imposed a two-year sentence and suspended the final year. She ordered the man to be registered as a sex offender.

Garda Paul O'Hanlon told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that the accused and the child's family were staying in the same house. The child's mother had left the house for a number of weeks when the offence occurred.

The child said the first incident occurred one afternoon as she watched TV. The man came and hugged her from behind, rubbing her chest and the tops of her legs. He stopped when someone came in the back door.

The second incident occurred outside the child's bedroom as her father was in the bathroom.

The accused grabbed her and touched her legs and chest again as well as thrusting himself against her. When he heard the toilet flushing he laughed and stopped.

The offences came to light after the child's mother returned to the house. Ms McGowan handed a victim impact report completed by the complainant into court.

Mr Greene said that that the man had been assessed as at low risk of re-offending and had not come to any further garda attention.

He submitted that this level of activity had been “on the cusp of criminality” and that there had been a “low level of engagement” between the accused and the victim.

He submitted that others convicted of the same crime had a far more determined and violent engagement with their victims.

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