A man who was convicted for abusing his neighbour’s two daughters has been jailed for eight years for the rape and sexual abuse of the same neighbour’s son.
The victim, Padraic Hoban, returned from Australia to attend his abuser John Gannon’s trial and sentencing.
Speaking at the Central Criminal Court yesterday with his parents and sister by his side, Mr Hoban said he was considering staying in Ireland, as “there’s no reason to run away anymore”.
Gannon, 71, formerly of Bohea, Co Mayo, had pleaded not guilty to one count of indecent assault, seven counts of sexual assault, four counts of oral rape, one count of anal rape, and one count of attempted anal rape of Mr Hoban at his home and locations near his home between 1990 and 1994.
Mr Hoban, who was four when the abuse began and who is now 28, issued a statement in which he thanked the jury “for believing the truth of what I endured as a child at the hands of this so-called human being”.
In 1995, Gannon was jailed for four years for indecently assaulting Mr Hoban’s sisters from 1990 to 1994. In 2010, after attempting suicide, Mr Hoban revealed to his family that he was also abused by Gannon then.
During the trial, Mr Hoban told Bernard Condon SC, prosecuting, that one of his sisters had a medical condition and her parents would bring her away for treatment, leaving the other children with Gannon. Abuse often took place when Gannon visited the bedroom where Mr Hoban slept.
Gannon also abused Mr Hogan in a shed used by local children to shelter when waiting for the bus to school. Mr Hoban testified he was anally and orally raped there on multiple occasions. On one occasion, he said, a passing car preventing Gannon from carrying out an attack.
He recalled gardaí visiting his home to investigate his sisters’ abuse but being unable to say anything “for fear of John Gannon”.
When asked how many times the abuse took place in the shed, he said: “I can say right now it happened five times, six times, but it probably happened hundreds of times. It was so long ago.”
In a victim impact statement read to the court by Garda Paul Lafferty, Mr Hoban said he had had a good childhood until he was four when the abuse began and he lost his childhood “in the cruelest way”.
He said Gannon was his father’s best friend, and he looked on him as a father figure until the abuse began. He said he remembered “a summer day when I was playing on a digger outside John Gannon’s house” when Gannon took him to the bathroom and raped him.
Sentencing Gannon to 13 years, with the final five suspended, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said it was a “slightly unusual feature of this case” that Gannon had already served a sentence for abuse and been released into a community where he was shunned as a known sex offender.
He said it was clear that Mr Hoban was severely damaged by the abuse and he hoped he felt vindicated by the verdict. Mr Hoban thanked his family and friends for “the unconditional love and support they have shown me”, and Garda Lafferty and the Garda Siochana, who he said were “shining examples of what public service truly means”.
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