Man pleads guilty to sexual assault of stepdaughter

A 39-year-old man who pleaded guilty to three counts of sexually assaulting his stepdaughter has been remanded on continuing bail to March 1 for sentencing.

At Galway District Court last Monday reporting restrictions were not enforced after the injured party, now 18, bravely told Judge Mary Fahy that she “didn’t care” if the defendant’s name was revealed and that she had “thought about it for a long time”.

Kevin Guihen, with an address at Apartment 2, Bridgehouse, Bridge Street, Carrick on Shannon, Leitrim, and previously of 1 Charlton Flats, Ballina, Mayo, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexually assaulting his stepdaughter on a date unknown between April 1, 1997, and March 31, 1998 at a house in Ballybrit Heights, Galway.

Garda Melanie McGowan gave evidence in court that the investigation began after the HSE received a complaint in August 2005. Garda McGowan said that a statement taken from the complainant on September 24, 2005, revealed incidents had taken place over a six month period at the girl’s home when she was aged six to seven. The court heard that two incidents took place while her mother had been out working nights and a third incident occurred when the girl was home sick from school and while her mother was in the other room.

When gardai put the allegations to Guihen on January 19, 2006, he admitted the three incidents. Garda McGowan explained that two incidents involved “inappropriate kissing” while the third involved Guihen putting his hands inside the victim’s underwear. Garda McGowan said that a complaint was first made when the victim was 14 years old but that “she didn’t want to go to the courts” at that time. However, when she turned 18, gardai were contacted again and a file was resubmitted to the DPP.

Under cross-examination by defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran Garda McGowan said that the victim’s mother had been unsure of the times of the incidents but that she had “walked in” during one incident when her daughter was home sick from school.

Ms Corcoran then told the court that when first interviewed by gardai her client was “forthcoming” and had already been attending treatment for sexual offending. She added that he was still undergoing treatment “even up to the time this matter was re-charged”.

The injured party later told Judge Fahy that the assaults had left her feeling depressed and that she gets “flashbacks”. The visibly shaken young woman said: “At the time the statement was taken I wasn’t ready to talk yet... I couldn’t bring myself to talk about it until I hit 18”.

Regarding Guihen’s background, Ms Corcoran said that at the time of the offences he was very depressed and was drinking. She added that reports could be furnished to the court.

After hearing the evidence, Judge Fahy said that there had been a “total breach of trust between a person in authority and a child”. She then remanded Guihen on continuing bail to March 1 for sentencing.

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