Woman says man putting her through trial process ‘as bad as’ being abused again

Longford man (52) sentenced to 10-years for sexually assaulting girl he was trusted to babysit

A woman who was molested by a man who regularly babysat her has told a court that going through the trial process was as bad as the man abusing her again.

The 52-year-old Longford man, who cannot be named to protect the anonymity of the victim, was found guilty of 52 counts of sexual assault following a Central Criminal Court trial held in Co Longford last November.

The abuse occurred on dates between 2004 and 2006, when the victim was aged between 10 and 12 and the man was in his early 30s.

The man was known to the girl’s family and would often babysit her and her siblings. The court heard during a previous sentence hearing that the man had given the young girl his phone number and would often give her gifts of sweets and soft drinks.


The man would put on pornography when he was babysitting and make the girl watch it with him, the court heard. The sexual assaults included touching the girl’s breasts and vagina. The man would also put her hand on his penis. The abuse occurred frequently over the two-year period and on one occasion, a younger sibling walked in while the girl was being sexually assaulted.

Mr Justice David Keane on Monday handed the man a nine-year prison sentence.

At a sentence hearing last month, the woman said through a victim impact statement that she struggled to give the evidence at trial before two teams of lawyers and 12 strangers. She said she was “ripped apart to prove I was telling the truth”.

“I got lucky – thankfully they believed me,” she said.

She said the man putting her through the trial was “as bad as abusing me again”.

She spoke of how in the aftermath of the abuse nothing was right with her, outlining inappropriate relationships and drug taking. She said she felt herself “unworthy of love”. She said no matter how many years the man gets as a prison term it will never “fix things” for her.

“What he has done will never leave me,” she said.

She said she perfected the “fake smile, fake happy” and thinks about the person she could have been. She described herself as a shell of a person.

Mr Justice Keane said it was an aggravating factor that the man was babysitting at the time of abuse. He noted that the offending took place in the victim’s home, which should have been a “sanctuary” for her, but the man’s actions turned it into a “place of humiliation and degradation”.

The man initially faced a total of 64 counts, but was acquitted of one charge of oral rape and one of sexual assault. The trial judge directed the jury to find the man not guilty on the remaining 10 counts because the victim’s evidence during the trial was that the abuse ended before she went to secondary school in September 2006.

Mr Justice Keane said the victim impact statement provided a “powerful” account of the “profound” effect the offending had on the woman and her family. He noted that her younger brother blamed himself “irrationally” for years for not speaking up and her parents feel “irrationally” they failed her.

He commended the victim for her resilience and courage in preserving with the trial process and expressed the hope that the jury’s verdict would assist her recovery.

Mr Justice Keane added that the man had expressed sorrow that the victim had to go through the trial process, but said he could give this little weight because this position is difficult to reconcile with the man’s denial of the offences.

He set a headline sentence of 10 years, which he reduced to nine years, taking the mitigation into account. He declined to suspend any portion of the sentence and imposed a two-year period of post-release supervision.