A Mayo man, who repeatedly sexually assaulted a 10-year-old boy, broke down and told gardaí that he had been sexually abused himself as a child, The Central Criminal Court has heard.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault and one count of oral rape at locations in Mayo on dates in 2009 and 2010.
The court heard that the man, who was 25 at the time and well known to the boy’s family, told him “don’t tell your parents about it, because they’ll think it’s rape, but it’s only a bit of craic”.
Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy imposed a three year prison term, calling it “a sentence of due leniency, motivated by the exceptional mitigating circumstances in this case”.
The man’s name was added to the sex offenders register.
The boy did not speak of the abuse until 2014, when he told his father. He then reported several separate incidents to gardaí, the first of which occurred when he was 11 years of age.
The man admitted to the assaults when questioned by gardaí, but at first denied the charge of oral rape.
In a victim impact statement read out to the court, the boy said that he had told his mother he wanted to commit suicide.
“My childhood is very much destroyed by someone who was supposed to be my friend,” he said.
He also said that the man’s actions were particularly deceitful because he had been mean to him when other people were present.
When the man was first questioned by gardaí, he said he was sexually abused as a child himself and that his abuse occurred every week for over a year. A member of An Garda Síochana told the court that his claim was “credible”.
Counsel said that the man had shown real remorse, was taking steps to deal with his “dysfunctional sexuality”, and was staying away from the boy and his family.
Mr Justice McCarthy said it was “no excuse for a person that he himself has been the victim of offences, but undoubtedly it is fair to say that the context in which the offences occurred include the context flowing from that abuse”.
He also noted that the man was at a very low risk of reoffending.
Several members of the man’s family were present in court. Counsel for the man said they are ready to support him when he is released from custody, despite the seriousness of his crimes.