A man who sexually assaulted his 15-year-old daughter while she was napping in the bed he shared with his partner has been sentenced to four years in prison with the final 18 months suspended
The 37-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the anonymity of his daughter, was convicted by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury of sexually assaulting the girl as she and her younger sister took an afternoon nap with him before a trip to the cinema.
He had pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault at an address in Dublin, on July 26, 2015. It was the second time the case had gone to trial.
The court heard at an earlier hearing last July, that the man told gardaí that he was “groggy” when he went to bed with the two girls and mistook his daughter for his partner.
At the previous hearing a victim impact report was read into the record by Karl Finnegan BL, prosecuting, in which the teenager stated that she had looked up to her father as a child.
“I thought he was smart but I now think of him as a stranger. He is separate from the Dad I looked up to,” the teenager said. She said she was jealous of her friends' relationships with their fathers and wished she could have a good relationship with her father
She said after the abuse she felt dirty, couldn't sleep and found it hard to trust others.
“I have fond memories of my Dad that I try to hold onto. Once we were a happy family. I wanted my father to finally face the truth,” the girl said referring to the jury's verdict.
Today, Judge Martina Baxter described the victim as “an articulate and bright young woman” and said the offence represented the “most substantial and grave breach of trust”.
“She was vulnerable and she was a child. She was asleep in the bed he shared with his partner,” Judge Baxter said before she noted that the teenager had to testify twice and be cross-examined by his defence team on each occasion.
The judge said the man had both “a self-serving and self-pitying approach” to the case with “not much regard to the impact the offence had on his own daughter”.
“He was supposed to be her father and her protector,” Judge Baxter said before she added that the man has now acknowledged he was in the wrong, although “he had trouble accepting that previously”.
“He exploited her youth and innocence for his own gratification and acted in the most disgusting manner on a sleeping 15-year-old child,” Judge Baxter said before she suspended the final 18 months of a four year term.
She ordered that the man undergo 18 months Probation Service supervision upon his release from custody.