By David Raleigh
A Co Clare paedophile, who had a previous conviction for sexually abusing two young sisters, has escaped a jail sentence after pleading guilty to sexually interfering with another young girl.
Judge Tom O'Donnell, presiding, said the girl told her parents, but after they initially confronted Patrick Boddy, the matter was "in an Irish way swept under the carpet".
Boddy was later arrested and admitted four offences of indecently assaulting the girl, after she made another complaint against him, when she was an adult.
Boddy, (aged 67), of Ard na Culla, Ennistymon, was jailed in 2013 for four years with the final two years suspended, for sexually abusing two sisters, one of whom was just four at the time.
Today, Boddy was convicted of four charges of indecent assault, contrary to Section 10 of the Criminal Law Rape Amendment Act 1990.
The sexual assaults took place on various dates between May 1986 and May 1990.
The court did not object to the media identifying Boddy, a former security guard.
Outlining the facts Judge Tom O'Donnell said Boddy abused the girl by "touching, massaging her genital area, and kissing her".
Boddy told the girl she would "be in awful trouble" if she told anyone about the abuse.
"The victim's family became aware (of the abuse) but nothing formally was done at the time. The victim confided in her sister and the accused's wife was told, but she went into a state of absolute denial," said judge O'Donnell.
Boddy "played down" the accusations after his wife and the girl's parents challenged him. The matter "petered out" after that, the judge said.
Judge O'Donnell praised the victim for her "enormous courage" in making the second complaint, "particularly after (initially) bringing it to the attention of others - but in an Irish way, matters were swept under the carpet, which must have been extremely confusing for someone so young."
He said the victim continued to show "incredible resolve" by making another complaint when she was an adult.
Boddy had used the girl for his personal "sexual gratification" from when she was aged seven to 11.
Handing down a two-year sentence which he suspended for a four-year period, the judge noted Boddy's guilty plea, his current poor health, and his expressed remorse.
He said Boddy had already "lost his family, his marriage and his standing in society".
He placed Boddy on the sex offenders register for five years.