A man who sexually abused his two young nieces after asking them to play games of “nerves” or “tickles” has been sentenced to eight years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
James Rooney (32) of Kelly Park, Lusk pleaded guilty to five charges of sexual abuse on dates between January 1, 2001 and October 24, 2010 in both Dublin and Louth. The first victim was aged between eight and 15 years old at the time, while her younger cousin was 13 years old.
Rooney, a father of two, has nine previous convictions from the District Court. None were for sexual offences.
The girls waived their right to anonymity so Rooney could be named in the media.
Judge Martin Nolan described it as “a distressing case” in which Rooney took advantage of two young children that were effectively in his care.
He said he had caused the teenagers “horrific harm” and their suffering “would have been expected”.
Judge Nolan accepted that Rooney had made attempts to rehabilitate by attending a treatment centre for sex offenders but said he was “a mature man who should have known better”.
He sentenced Rooney to a consecutive sentences totalling eight years but suspended the final four years on condition that he keep the peace for four years upon his release from prison and engage with the probation service for three years.
Sergeant Liam Donoghue told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that the first victim was sexually abused by Rooney when she was eight years old.
Sgt Donoghue told Ms Small that the girls made their allegations in 2010 and Rooney was arrested that November. He made full admissions.
Two victim impact reports were handed into court but were not read out.
Luigi Rea BL, defending, said Rooney received treatment in December 2010 and has since been psychiatrically assessed.
He said Rooney was abused as a child and submitted to the court that his client’s life will be destroyed now as there will be a “great deal of publicity” about the case.
Mr Rea said Rooney took an overdose on the “realisation of his wrong-doing” but added “he has been man enough to admit it”.