Court rules man jailed for sexually assaulting babysitter, 13, can now be named

Court rules man jailed for sexually assaulting babysitter, 13, can now be named

A man jailed for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl who was babysitting his grandchild can now be named by the media, after he lost a sentence appeal.

Joseph Carey (63), with an address at St Ronan’s Green, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, had denied sexually assaulting the girl at his home on a date in August, 2001, when he was aged 44 and the girl was aged 13.

He was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to two-and-a-half years imprisonment with the final four months suspended by Judge Elma Sheahan last June, which was upheld by the Court of Appeal today.

Carey was not named following his conviction, despite the wishes of the now adult woman, because arguments were made in a separate case by a Wicklow child rapist that complainants cannot waive their right to anonymity as a matter of law.

The Central Criminal Court has delivered a ruling in relation to the Wicklow case, which is currently under appeal.

President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham said today that there was nothing to prevent Carey’s identity being published. He said the publication of Carey’s details could lead to the identification of the complainant, but the complainant was prepared to take that risk, in order for Carey to be named.

Dismissing an appeal against the severity of Carey’s prison sentence, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said the three-judge court could find no error in principle.

Mr Justice McCarthy said the complainant was staying overnight in Carey’s home as a babysitter when the assault took place. She was sharing a bed with another child, when Carey entered the room, put his hands down her pyjama bottoms.

Carey apologised to the complainant at the time, but subsequently denied making this apology and contested the case on the basis that she was making it up.

Mr Justice McCarthy said the two families were close, and the complainant had to live beside her abuser for over a decade after the assault.

He said the offence involved a breach of trust because the victim had viewed the man and his family home as a safe place to go to.

The court heard that the woman and her mother went to gardaí in 2001 but no file was ever sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the subsequent investigation was unable to establish if a formal statement had ever been made. A referral was made to the HSE from the local garda station but no intervention was made, the court heard.

Mr Justice McCarthy, who sat with Mr Justice Birmingham and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the sentencing judge had regard to all relevant factors and the appeal was therefore dismissed.


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