A Westmeath man who sexually assaulted three young girls in Roscommon and north Dublin has been given a two years prison sentence by Judge Joseph Matthews.
The 44-year-old man was convicted by a jury on May 17 last of sexually assaulted the girls, aged seven to 11 years, at Roscommon and north Dublin addresses variously on April 16 and September 10, 2002, and on May 1, 2005.
The Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury took almost five hours to return guilty verdicts on four charges and found him not guilty on one further count. The offending involved indecent touching and the victims gave their evidence via video-link.
One guilty verdict was unanimous, two were by 11-1 majority and one by 10-2 majority. Two of the guilty verdicts related to one victim and one each to two other girls.
The man now lives in County Roscommon but cannot be named for legal reasons arising out of his relationship to the victims.
Judge Matthews who previously directed that the man be registered as a sex offender imposed two year prison sentences on each charge and suspended the final 12 months on condition that on his release from custody, he underwent specified directional guidance and counselling in relation to his sexual offending.
Defence counsel, Mr Bernard Madden SC (with Ms Monika Leech BL), submitted previously that consultant psychiatrist Dr John Bogue, believed his client was at a low risk of re-offending and could be suitable for "community treatment " if dealt with non-custodially.
Judge Matthews said he had been impressed "by the insightful report" presented by Probation Officer, Ms Mary O'Sullivan, which had suggested the possibility of dealing with the defendant in the community but noted what he called his "ambiguous at best attitude to his wrongdoing".
"It appears from the Probation Report that there is the beginning of insight into his wrongdoing by his saying that if in some way he has hurt the girls he is sorry and that no child deserves to be hurt," he said.
Judge Matthews said, however, that while he appeared to be starting to be aware of a problem the defendant had difficulty in acknowledging his "opportunistic offending" against the victims whom he had targeted .
"I have to take the interests of the community as well as of the victims and the defendant into consideration in deciding on sentence," he said.