A 17-year-old boy has been given a five-year probation supervision order for the oral rape of his three-and-a-half year old cousin at his Co Clare home almost two years ago.
The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to oral rape at his home on June 10, 2009. The teenager was 15 years old at the time and has no previous convictions.
Mr Justice Paul Carney, who previously registered the teen as a sex offender, said he was entitled to the protection of the Children’s Act even though the offence was “so grave it could have merited a custodial sentence”.
He had been advised by both counsel for the prosecution and the defence that the Children’s Act states that “custody should be the last resort” for an accused under 18 years old.
Mr Justice Carney ordered that the youth continue his regime and carry out the instructions of his probation officer for five years.
Earlier, Garda Robert Grant told Ms Eilis Brennan BL, prosecuting, that the youth’s cousin was visiting his family home that day in the company of his mother, the teenager’s aunt.
When the little boy got home later that evening he told his mother that he saw his cousin’s “willy” and said he had put it in his mouth. The child repeated this phrase later to his father and said it again a number of times over the subsequent two weeks.
Garda Grant said specialist child interviewers later conducted a meeting with the little boy and his parents where he again said that the teenager had put his “willy” in his (the victim’s) mouth and told them where it had happened.
The teenager was subsequently arrested and interviewed. He initially denied the allegations but in his fourth interview admitted that he had exposed himself to the little boy and put his penis in his mouth.
He claimed it happened for “two seconds” and he felt sorry straight away and regretted it. He told gardai he felt “guilty and sick”.
Ms Brennan read a victim impact statement prepared by the victim’s parents in which they said that their son was “very unsettled and clingy” in the days after the incident. They said he would bring it up a number of times so they knew it “played on his mind”.
His parents described how the little boy would “wrap his tiny arms around our neck and whisper (the teenager) is a bold boy”.
They said that the family had been left “emotionally disabled” and the victim’s mother was “working hard” not to let the incident destroy her close relationship with her sister, the 17-year-old’s mother.
The victim’s parents said they took comfort in the fact that their child was so young and hoped that it would not impact on his life too much, before they said they also hoped that the teenager would not do this to anyone else.
Garda Grant agreed with Ms Isobel Kennedy SC, defending, that he was aware that her client had “an element of confusion in relation to his sexual orientation” at the time, which he has now come to terms with.
He also told gardaí that he had been sexually abused himself as a child but he did not give any further information.
He had stopped attending school at the time and had a difficult relationship with his mother. His parents’ relationship had been “short” and he had no contact with his father.
Garda Grant told Ms Kennedy that he was aware that her client had been voluntarily attending a residential treatment programme for adolescent boys with “problematic sexual behaviour” and had been co-operating with staff and progressing well.
The centre manager told Ms Kennedy that the accused had co-operated and participated with staff in a “very fulsome way”. He had been dealing with accepting his offending behaviour and showed insight into his crime.
She said the placement was for two years but they could extend his time until he was 18 years old.
She said upon his release the Health Service Executive would provide an after-care service for him and her centre would provide an outreach programme.
The manager told Ms Kennedy that it was “essential that he be allowed to continue his rehabilitation as he had made very significant progress”.