A Dublin man who raped 14-year-old girl at knife point after meeting her on the internet has been sentenced to 10 years with the final two suspended.
Stephen Rogers met the girl on a chat room and swapped phone numbers with her before meeting her and luring her to a secluded area of a Swords park where he raped her.
Rogers (aged 22) of St Cronan’s Close, Swords pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape, aggravated sexual assault and the production of a knife during the course of the rape on July 16, 2011 at River Valley Park in Swords.
Mr Justice Paul Carney declared Rogers a sex offender and said because he has a previous conviction of threatening a woman with a knife and his predatory nature, he “has disqualified himself from a benefit he otherwise might have enjoyed.”
The girl said, in her victim impact statement that the attack has changed her life.
“I regularly wake up crying and I keep seeing his face in my head. It has taken so much out of me and my family think there’s something wrong with me because all I do is cry.”
The court heard that the girl had suffered bullying at school ever since the attack and the family have moved home.
The girl’s father said their relationship had suffered and that she had “lost her innocence”.
Garda James Tracey told prosecuting counsel, Paul Carroll BL, Rogers had posed online as a 17-year-old named David.
The girl told him she was almost 15 and they had sexual conversations over the internet before exchanging phone numbers and agreeing to meet in Swords last July.
The girl, who cannot be named, travelled to Swords Shopping Centre to meet Rogers.
Gda Tracey said that when she arrived, Rogers suggested they go the nearby Ward River Valley Park, known locally as Jacko Park.
They sat down on a bench and he began making advances on her but she told him she didn’t want to go any further. Rogers removed his trousers and forced her to perform a sex act.
The court heard that she was struggling and putting up resistance throughout the ordeal and was in fear of Rogers.
Gda Tracey told the court that Rogers produced a kitchen knife, which caused the girl to panic.
He threatened her with it, saying: “Don’t panic or else I’ll use it on you,” to which she replied, “please don’t.”
He then raped her.
When she struggled he raised a fist in a threatening manner and said: “I don’t like hurting girls.”
She told gardaí the ordeal lasted between 10 and 20 minutes but that it felt like a lot longer.
Rogers was arrested several days after the attack and brought to Swords garda station, where he accepted that he had been in contact with the girl and that she had received text messages from his phone number.
He told gardaí that it was consensual at first, but admitted to having the knife, which was found at the scene.
When asked why he had used the knife, he said he was “excited and confused”, and that he “lost control”.
Gda Tracey said Rogers was previously charged with using a knife to threaten a woman in the same area.
He grabbed a 24-year-old woman’s arm, brandished a knife and ordered her into the bushes, but she managed to run away.
Defence counsel, Cathal McGreal BL, said Rogers has a history of solvent abuse since he was seven, started using cannabis when he was 10, and is unemployed.
Mr McGreal read an apology in court, which was handwritten by Rogers. He said he was “heartbrokenly sorry” and described the attack as “the worst decision of my life”.
He added that he “was not a bad person but had made a bad mistake”.
Mr Justice Carney sentenced him to five years for the production of a knife, which is to run concurrently to the 10-year sentence.