Coach gets three years for sex with 14-year-old trainee

A sports coach who had sex with a 14-year-old girl he was training has been given a three-year sentence by Judge Patricia Ryan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

A sports coach who had sex with a 14-year-old girl he was training has been given a three-year sentence by Judge Patricia Ryan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The then 20-year-old had begun texting the girl and meeting her away from the sports club before they had sex.

He pleaded guilty to having sex with a female under the age of 15 in July 2006. A count of sexual assault was taken into consideration. He cannot be named to protect her identity.

Defence counsel, Ms Caroline Biggs BL, submitted to Judge Ryan that the offences were "consensual acts which were criminalised because of the age of the complainant."

Judge Ryan said the man was in a position of trust and authority and there was an element of "preplanning."

She imposed a sentence of three years imprisonment with the final year suspended. She registered him as a sex offender and ordered that he undergo one year post release supervision

Garda Joan O'Connor told Ms Martina Baxter BL, prosecuting, that the man was an assistant sports coach at a club the girl had been attending for a number of years and he began texting her in March 2006.

They communicated via texts and online MSN messaging for a time until he asked to meet up with her.

He picked her up in his car and brought her to his home where there was consensual kissing. When he tried to go further she said she was uncomfortable and he stopped. He asked her not to tell anyone.

Gda O'Connor said they met up again in July 2006 and on this occasion they had sexual intercourse.

The girl's mother made a complaint to gardaí in August 2006 and the man was arrested some months later.

Gda O'Connor said the man, who had no previous convictions, was no longer involved in sports coaching.

She agreed with Ms Biggs that the girls in the class might have thought he was "gorgeous" and that the girl's friends said she was "excited and happy" that she kissed him.

Gda O'Connor agreed that the two continued contact for a while after having sex and that although the man knew he was in trouble he told the young girl she had nothing to worry about.

Ms Biggs asked the court to consider a non-custodial option as this was not a case of "a much older man acting in a predatory matter" and submitted these were "consensual acts".

She said he had shown concern for the girl during and after these events. She said a psychological report assessed him as "not predatory" and at low risk of re-offending.

Ms Biggs said he was a "constructive young man" with a good work history and a normal history of two long-term relationships. She said he regretted his actions and was unlikely to come before the courts again.

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