Court seeks secure unit for sex assault boy

Sentencing of a 14-year-old boy, who sexually assaulted two women and in another incident held a knife to a pregnant woman’s stomach, has been adjourned pending an effort to have him placed in a secure therapeutic care unit.

The boy, who is residing in a care home, had pleaded guilty earlier at the Children’s Court to two sexual assaults on the same date in January last, in Dublin. He also admitted four other charges, two for production of a knife as a weapon at his care home in November last year, when he was aged 13, and two more for attacking two women who worked in the unit.

Today, Judge Bryan Smyth was told that the boy’s placement in his current care home was on the "verge of breaking down".

Defence solicitor Mr Gareth Noble said that, at present, it was in neither the boy’s nor the care home’s interest for him to continue residing there.

Ms Gina Cleary, solicitor for the HSE, told Judge Smyth that a referral is to be made to the High Court to have the teenager placed in a secure care unit with therapeutic intervention. However, she added that the existence of criminal charges could act as an obstacle to the HSE’s application in the High Court.

Judge Smyth also noted that there was also a charge against the teenager for possessing drugs.

He remanded the boy, who was accompanied to the case by his mother and care staff, on bail and adjourned sentencing pending the High Court decision.

Earlier the boy had apologised in court for his action.

“I regret my actions in the past and I have done wrong. I am embarrassed to be sitting here in front of my family, I am just hoping for another chance really,” he had said.

The boy’s hearing in September had heard that during an assault at the care home last November, the boy slapped a member of staff across her face. “He picked up a dinner knife and held it to her throat, but relaxed it when another staff member came in,” a Garda said.

In another incident at the home, the boy approached a pregnant care worker.

“He put his outstretched arm to her and she tried to block him and felt a knife connect with her wrist. It had been concealed up his sleeve.”

“He followed her and held a table knife to her stomach. The injured party was four months pregnant at the time, he would have known that.”

The sexual assaults on two women in their twenties did not occur at the care home. One injured party told gardaí he “grabbed her crotch and her breasts and verbalised his actions saying ‘I will show you a good time, you know you want it.”

The second complainant told gardaí the boy groped her chest, crotch and buttocks. She stated that the teenager said “he would get her into bed and 'you know you want it'".

When questioned over these incidents, the boy made admissions and expressed remorse. He told gardaí: “Yeah it was disgraceful, I accept that.”

Defence solicitor Mr Noble had said the boy has been in care since he was aged two years and there has been “a high level of therapeutic intervention.”

He said that the boy, whose mother, social worker and care staff have been present for the case, had been through 15 different care placements in his life.

The boy’s social worker had said earlier the teenager had problems trusting people and had “issues of detachment.”

Efforts were being made to improve his social skills. There had been difficulties in getting him to go to school and at times he had problems controlling aggression.


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