A man who was sexually assaulted by his adopted father has said he lost his childhood because of the attacks.
The 57-year-old Co Donegal man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, was convicted after a trial at the Central Criminal Court last December. He has no previous convictions.
The victim was aged between 13 and 15 years of age when the man molested him.
The man had pleaded not guilty to seven charges of oral rape of the boy at the then family home in Co Donegal in 2003 and 2004. The jury acquitted him of these but were given the option to convict him of alternative counts of the lesser offence of sexual assault.
The sexual assaults amounted to molestation and fondling of the child's genitals. The victim had believed the man was his biological father until after the offending came to light.
In his impact statement the victim, now aged in his 20s, said the continual abuse had ruined his life.
“I was just an innocent child. I lost my childhood. I struggle every day of my life because of the trauma he caused me,” he said.
Passing sentence today, Ms Justice Carmel Stewart said the convictions for sexual assault effectively arose from concessions made by defence counsel during the trial on behalf of the accused man.
Ms Justice Stewart sentenced the man to two years imprisonment, but suspended the final six months of the sentence on strict conditions.
At an earlier sentencing hearing, Micheal Bowman SC, defending, said that the circumstances of the abuse were well known in the local area and his client had become “a social pariah”.
He said that his client was abused by his own older brother when he himself was a teenager.
This other man was also alleged to have subjected his nephew to ongoing serious sexual abuse and he took his own life a month after he was arrested for questioning in relation to the later allegations of abuse.
Counsel said his client had written a letter of apology in which he hoped that someday his adopted son would take him back into his life.
“What I've done to you can never be excused. I'm so sorry for all the hurt that I've caused you,” he wrote.
Ms Justice Stewart noted that during cross-examination of the victim during the trial, defence counsel acknowledged that his client had touched the victim and had behaved in a manner that was wrong and illegal.
She also noted that prior to the trial commencing, the man offered to plead guilty to sexual assault offences and this was not acceptable to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). She said he was entitled to credit as if there had been a plea of guilty in the first place.
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