Monday, November 21, 2022

Isabel Hayes

A man who sexually assaulted and attempted to rape a teenage boy who was visiting him in his mobile home 10 years ago has been jailed for eight years.

Paul Morris (55) assured his victim’s mother that he was a youth worker when the boy phoned her to ask if he could stay the night in his trailer, the Central Criminal Court heard.

Following a trial last April, Morris was found guilty by a jury of two counts of sexual assault and one count of attempted rape at his address in Chianti Park, Tallaght, on dates between May 1st, 2010 and April 1st, 2011.

The boy was aged between 13 and 14 at the time. He waived his anonymity so Morris could be named.

Morris maintains his innocence and does not accept the guilty verdicts of the jury, the court heard. He has no previous convictions.

Sergeant Gearoid O’Brien told Patrick Gageby SC, prosecuting, that the boy got to know Morris through a friend and the two boys visited Morris in his trailer.

The court heard Morris phoned the victim’s mother with a view to the boys staying over. She was “swayed” by the fact he said he was a youth worker and agreed to let her son stay. The court heard Morris had been a youth worker in the past but had not worked in this field since 2002.

Morris produced some cannabis and plied the boys with joints. The victim’s next memory was of being in bed, with Morris on top of him groping him and saying he wanted to see the boy’s “lovely red rocket”, the court heard.

On another occasion, the boy was back in Morris’s trailer when Morris tried to rape him, but the boy managed to fight him off.

Sentencing

Sentencing Morris on Monday, Mr Justice Michael MacGrath said Morris had caused serious harm to his victim. He noted Morris had not acknowledged his wrong-doing nor expressed any remorse.

He set a headline sentence of 10 years which he reduced to eight years, taking mitigating factors into account, including Morris’s lack of previous convictions and medical history.

In a victim impact statement previously read out in court by Sgt O’Brien, the victim said the abuse had affected his relationships with his family.

“The ability to talk openly was lost, no-one knows why I was so frustrated or angry. It also caused me to act out in a way I never thought I would,” he said.

“…I have felt vulnerable, unsafe and intimidated throughout my adolescent years.”

He said he had suicidal thoughts, and his relationship with his partner and child had suffered as a result of the abuse. “To this day it is a challenge for me to be a better person and father as I work on myself,” he said.

Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending, said Morris has a number of serious medical conditions, including multiple sclerosis and inflammation of his spinal cord which leaves him needing crutches and occasionally wheelchair-bound.

He has been in custody since the trial and this has been difficult for him given his medical issues, the court heard.

Mr Ó Lideadha said his client has psychological issues, as well as medical. He has been deemed at a moderate risk of re-offending.


If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help. 

In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112. 

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