An American man has been sentenced to two years for sexually abusing a seven-year-old boy while visiting friends in Ireland.
The court heard the 64-year-old’s victim continues to suffer the effects of the assault and has to go to regular counselling.
The accused man pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexual assault in the boy’s home on December 4, 2009.
Judge Katherine Delahunt said that he had been welcomed in the house as a guest of the family and that his actions constituted a gross breach of trust.
She said that he had been highly regarded by the family of the victim, who could not have guessed they would expose their child to such an assault after inviting him in their home.
Judge Delahunt said that the court noted the very young age of the child and that he was now undergoing psychotherapy to come to terms with “significant” problems.
She said the man had offered nothing of value to gardaí in interview and that he appeared to be making arrangements to leave the jurisdiction before being brought into custody.
Judge Delahunt said that the accused, who suffers with asthma and diabetes, had lost the comforting influence of family as his brother had disowned him and faced the possible loss of his house, due to his inability to pay the mortgage on the property.
In suspending half of his two-year sentence, Judge Delahunt said that the court had regard to his early plea of guilty and his expressions of remorse.
She ordered that the man, who must leave Ireland within 48 hours of his release, be placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.
She further directed that the relevant federal authorities in the United States be notified of his inclusion on the list and recommended his inclusion on the equivalent register there.
A garda sergeant told prosecuting counsel, Ms Lisa Dempsey BL, that the victim awoke early one morning to find the man on the couch reading a book. He and the boy started playing and push each other around.
The man then pulled down the boy’s pants and began molesting him. He asked him if he liked it but the boy ignored him. He tried to force the man’s hand away but he kept forcing it back.
Later that day the boy told his mother what had happened. His mother reported it to the gardaí and the man was thrown out of the house. When gardaí interviewed him he denied the allegations and said he was “stunned”.
He said it was possible he had touched the boy’s genitals while they playing but denied having a sexual interest in children. He later admitted the offence and entered a guilty plea.
Defence counsel, Mr Erwin Mill Arden said his client had no previous convictions and was “extremely sorry” for the offence.