A man who admitted sexually assaulting his then partner’s 14-year-old sister while she was babysitting in their home, has been jailed for two and a half years at Dundalk Circuit Court.
The now 30-year-old defendant – who cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity, pleaded guilty to two offences which occurred at an address in County Louth, on a date unknown in April 2016 and on May 13th the same year.
The victim told gardai she was babysitting during the Easter holidays when the defendant arrived home alone after midnight sat down beside her on a couch, where she was watching a horror movie.
She said no when he asked the 14-year-old if she wanted a cuddle and he pulled her over to him and sexually assaulted her before she pulled her hand out of his grasp and went to her sister’s room and locked the door.
On the second occasion, the teen was sleeping on a mattress in the sitting room watching a comedy, when the accused returned home and again looked for a cuddle, which the teenager declined.
He got down and lay beside the victim watching a film and after half an hour groped her. He later returned and after touching her inappropriately he went to his room, and sent her at Snapchat message and asked her to keep what happened a secret.
After he was arrested, the defendant denied deliberately sexually assaulting the 14-year-old and claimed any touching was accidental.
The teen did not wish to attend the sentencing hearing, but in a victim impact, read into the record, said she’d had a breakdown at school before reporting the abuse and while she’s found counselling helpful, she’d lost friends who didn’t believe her, and for a long time she thought she was going mad, but she said: “I’m slowly understanding that I’m not to blame. He is."
The Defence barrister said his client has not come to Garda attention since and his 16 previous convictions were for road traffic matters. The court heard his relationship with the victim's sister ended as a result of the sexual assaults.
Judge Michael O’Shea said the accused took advantage of the victim and had exploited his position.
He imposed concurrent sentences of three and a half years but suspended the final 12 months of each, on him entering a bond to be of good behaviour for a year after his release.
He must also attend Probation appointments and a sex offender treatment programme.