Jail for ex army officer who sexually abused teenage sister-in-law

A former army officer who sexually abused his teenage sister-in-law a number of times and once while in the presence of his toddler son has been sentenced to three years.

The 49-year-old Meath resident, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his now 15-year-old victim, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four charges of sexual assault on dates between March 1, 2010 and November 25, 2010 in both his and the teenager’s home.

Judge Martin Nolan said because of the serious nature of the offences he had to impose a custodial sentence. He imposed a three-year term with 18 months suspended for two years.

The investigating garda told Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, that the abuse started with the man touching the teenager in private areas.

She later told gardaí that after each incident the man would ask her if she was alright but she was unable to speak. However the final time the man abused her she elbowed him and told him to get off her.

The teenager told gardaí she started to drink alcohol about that time “partly to fit in with friends and partly to get out of my head what he was doing to me”.

She often cried after the abuse and towards the end of it she felt sick and scared if the man was around.

The court heard the man once molested the teenager when his little boy was sitting on the floor in front of him playing. The man stopped after a couple of minutes and the victim sat down to play with her nephew.

The garda told Ms Murphy that the girl told her friend about the abuse but did not report it to her mother until after the final incident in November 2010 when she left a note in the family’s laptop before going to school.

Her mother and father then went with her to their local station to report the man.

The victim’s mother had called her son-in-law and confronted him about the allegations.

He confessed and his wife and son moved out of the family home that night. They have not returned since and he has not been allowed access to his boy.

Jonathan Kilfeather SC, defending, told Judge Nolan that his client is originally from North Co Dublin but is now living in Co Meath.

He said he went into care at a young age where he was both physically and sexually abused. He later joined the army and was also sexually abused there by an older officer. He left the army a number of years later.

Counsel said his client has two older sons from a previous marriage and has not seen his younger son since the abuse was disclosed.

Mr Kilfeather said his client has been hospitalised for bouts of serious depression but is now receiving counselling which has helped him come to terms with his offending behaviour.

“If he could turn back the clock he would,” Mr Kilfeather submitted to Judge Nolan.

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