Garda does not accept conviction for sexual assault of young girl

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A YOUNG girl who was sexually assaulted by her Garda uncle told her parents she “did not want to live” afterwards, according to a victim impact statement read out in court last week.

The victim, who was ten years old at the time of the assault, said her life had become “dark” afterwards.

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She told her mother and father she “felt guilty” after the family’s relationship with the defendant had completely broken down.

The assault occurred at the Garda’s home in November 2016.

Last January the Garda, who served in the mid-west region, was convicted by a jury who reached an 11 to 1 guilty verdict.

His barrister Colman Cody SC, told his sentencing hearing that his client “does not accept” the jury’s verdict.

The girl was too traumatised to write a full victim impact statement and her mother told court her daughter had written words describing how she felt about what happened to her.

She described how she felt “very sad, scared, lonely, angry, and disappointed”.

In a victim impact statement, the girl’s mother said the fallout had left her family heartbroken.

She said she and her husband were “extremely angry” with the defendant and that he had “robbed my beautiful daughter of her innocence”.

The girl’s mother said all they ever wanted to do was protect their daughter, but they felt they failed her.

The victim and her family have received counselling to try to come to terms with the effects of the sexual abuse.

The court heard the assault occurred when the girl was on a sleepover at her uncle’s house, ahead of a family visit to Santa.

The defendant entered the girl’s bedroom while she was asleep, stuck his fingers inside her “front bum” and rubbed her buttocks.

The Garda, who has been suspended from duty, had his trousers belt and zip open, exposing his underwear, while he sexually assaulted the child.

The victim told her mother what happened later on in the night.

The mother said that prior to the assault her daughter had been “a happy, loving child, who loved music, singing and playing with her friends”.

She said after the assault, her daughter became “withdrawn” and “distressed”.

She had been due to go to visit Santa the morning after the assault, “but instead she was visiting a sexual assault unit”.

She was afraid that the defendant “come and get her” and continues to have “nightmares” and “wake up screaming because she felt the defendant was trying to drown her in a bath”.

Mr Cody was granted an adjournment to allow time for a psychiatric report on his client who, he said, had a “significant psychiatric history”.

After Judge Thomas Teehan remanded the defendant in custody for sentencing on July 22, he was immediately taken to Limerick Prison for transfer to the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise.

Judge Teehan told the girls mother her victim impact statement was “one of the most impressive and measured” he had ever heard.

“You and your husband did not fail your daughter, someone else did,” he told her.

by David Raleigh

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