A convicted sex offender who was a highly trusted member of his local community in Cork has been jailed for four years for sexually abusing two young boys.
The man, aged 69, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victims, pleaded guilty on the morning of his trial at the Central Criminal Court to three charges of sexual abuse on dates between January and May 1991, while the boys were five and 14 years old.
The youngest victim, now 30 years old, said the man lived in a camper van next to his parents’ home.
He said he was a friend of his parents and said “they trusted him so I trusted him”.
In his victim impact statement he said that the man would entice him into the van with treats, and would perform tricks for the children.
This victim was aged five when the man began abusing him by masturbating him and performing oral sex on him. This went on for a few months until the victim realised it was wrong, so he stopped going to his van.
The victim was always alone with the man during the assaults.
The second man, now aged 40 and a father of four, said the man sexually abused him after asking the then-14-year-old to steer his van home from the pub because he was too drunk to drive.
He operated the pedals while the teenager sat on his lap at the steering wheel.
The man ripped open his trousers and molested him, causing the boy to take his hands off the wheel, which led to him crashing the van.
Both victims spoke about how the man was very much a trusted man of the community. “People felt he was so trustworthy they would allow their children alone with him without question,” the older man said in his statement.
“I had looked on him as part of my family. I lost many friendships because we told others what he was like,” the man continued.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt said yesterday that the maximum sentence for the offence at the time was five years but he would use his discretion to impose consecutive terms.
He added that he had to sentence on “the applicable law and not as a result of my own view on the matter” before he sentenced the man to consecutive terms totalling four years, having taken into account the man’s pleas of guilty.
He said the abuse of the first and youngest victim was at the upper end of the scale, noting that the man had “gulled him into his confidence by doing tricks and providing sweets”.
He said it was also very advanced sexual conduct for an adult to subject a young child to and noted “the obvious, profound, and prolonged damage” his actions caused the victim.
Mr Justice Hunt said that although the sexual assault of the second victim was as serious an offence, the abuse itself was of a somewhat lesser nature and the boy was older.
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