A Laois man convicted of indecently assaulting a girl in his neighbourhood when he was a teenager has been jailed for two and a half years.
The now 49-year-old man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was convicted by a jury of one count of indecent assault of the girl in a field on a date between 1983 and 1985, following a trial at the Central Criminal Court. He was acquitted by the jury of raping the girl.
The child was aged somewhere between nine and eleven at the time and the accused man between 17 and 19 years old. The man was interviewed by gardaí and denied the allegations.
The man, who is now married with children, has no previous convictions. He does not accept the verdict of the jury.
Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy noted the man was now a hard working family man who had not come to garda attention in the intervening years. She said the victim had been severely affected by the offence but was to be commended that she expressed hope for the future.
Ms Justice Kennedy imposed a two and a half year sentence.
A local garda told Will Fennelly BL, prosecuting, that the now 42-year-old woman had given evidence that the accused man had forced her to perform oral sex and her younger sibling, who was about five at the time, had seen the man appearing to fondle her and remove her clothing.
In her victim impact report the woman described how she lived with flashbacks and said the abuse changed her life. She said she had worked hard to be in a position where she felt good about herself.
She said in the past she had used alcohol as a way of coping but had now been sober for some time.
John Peart SC, defending, said the accused man had an extensive work history in a responsible position and was married with adult children.
A friend of the family told Mr Peart that he thought the offence was “very much outside his character.” He said he could not see the accused man ever being involved in anything like this again in the future.
Mr Peart said the accused man had co-operated fully with the gardaí and no longer lived in the vicinity of the injured party. He had not come to the attention of gardaí in the intervening years.
He said the man's life had completely changed since the date of the offence and he was now a useful member of society. He asked the court to consider a non-custodial sentence.