John Prendiville, aged 49, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to sexually assaulting the child, who had been in a residential care at the time, on May 12, 2012.
The court heard that Prendiville’s 33 previous convictions include five for sexual assault and four for failing to notify gardaí under the Sex Offender’s Act.
He had just been released from Castlerea Prison, having served a six-year jail term for sex assault, when he took the teenager to his B&B and performed oral sex on him.
Mr Justice Paul Carney suspended the final two years of a 12-year prison sentence on condition Prendiville stay away from the victim and undergo 18 months of post-release supervision.
A local detective garda told Fiona Murphy, prosecuting, that the child had been out past curfew and was reported missing at 11.45pm by staff from the care centre.
The teenager was found 30 minutes later slumped against a door at the centre. He was drunk and said he had been sexually assaulted. It was reported to the gardaí and Prendiville was arrested the following day.
He told gardaí in interview he had got the bus into the town that day having been released from prison and had gone drinking. He met the teenager outside a pub and later bought him vodka while he drank pints of beer.
Prendiville then brought the teenager back to his B&B where he kissed him and performed oral sex on him. He said during interview, “I am very sorry over this, didn’t know he was 15, very very sorry”.
Prendiville later admitted to gardaí he knew the victim was underage and referred to him as “a kid” and “a young fella”.
A victim impact report from the teenager stated he felt very bad about what had happened and it stressed him out to think about it. He said he is wary of strangers, is more cautious and finds it hard to trust people. A report from his social worker stated he was a vulnerable child who has since been moved to a new care centre for his own safety.
The detective agreed with Anthony Sammon, defending that Prendiville’s last registered address was with the Salvation Army Hostel in Dublin. He accepted that his convictions for breaching the requirements of the Sex Offender’s Register arose because he was unable to provide a permanent address to gardaí.
Prendiville’s other sexual assault convictions relate to sexually assaulting a 14- year-old boy, a 16-year-old boy, and two 18 year-old men. He was jailed for six years for the sexual assault of the 16-year-old during which he held a knife to the victim’s throat.
In suspending the two years, Mr Justice Carney noted this was an inherently grave offence but that the evidence was that Prendiville’s guilty plea had been of benefit to the victim.
The judge said the aggravating factors were the nature of his previous convictions and his persistent violations under the act.