A 44 year-old man, who defiled a special needs child at a number of locations including the grounds of a Catholic church, was sentenced today to a total of four years in prison at the Circuit Criminal Court in Castlebar.

Imposing a seven year sentence with the final three years suspended, Judge Seán O'Donnabhaín, said that the age difference involved and the fact that the victim's vulnerability was known to the accused were significant aggravating factors.

The offences were committed in a west of Ireland town over a period of time in 2015. The accused cannot be named in order to protect the identity of his female victim who was aged 13/14 at the time.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, the victim said that a result of the incidents she feared staying at home alone and would lock the doors, while a family member has to accompany her to school .

Imposing sentence, Judge O'DonnabhaIn said it had to be acknowledged that the accused man's early plea had been of significant benefit to the State in its prosecution of the cases.

However, the judge added that the case was “extremely” serious as it involved the violation of a child by a grown-up .

He said the fact that the accused had enaged in violating his victim on a repeat basis was also a significant aggravatiing factor.






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