Monday, May 15, 2023

Declan Brennan

A father-of-two who was a teenager when he repeatedly sexually assaulted a young boy has been jailed for 18 months.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to six counts of sexual assault on dates between September 2007 and July 2010 at a number of locations in Co Wicklow.

Paul Greene SC, prosecuting, told Justice Karen O’Connor that the defendant was a friend of the victim’s family and would sometimes take the younger boy out in his car.

The offender was aged 17 when he first sexually assaulted the then 14-year-old victim by masturbating the victim and getting the child to masturbate him, a garda witness told Mr Greene.

The victim told the older boy that he didn’t want to do this, and he made his feelings clear, the court heard.

The victim was aged 15 when the offending escalated to the offender getting the child to perform oral sex on him. The victim said he didn’t want to do this and made his feelings clear.

When the victim went to gardaí in 2018, he told them that the abuse went on for just short of three years and occurred around 200 times. The offender was aged up to 20 for some of the offending.

Victim impact report

In his victim impact report, the survivor told the court that because of the actions of the accused he felt worthless for years and was plagued by self-doubt.

“I have to make sure this man can’t make anyone else feel this way,” he said. He said he never thought anyone would believe him and he was glad now to be able to put this in the past and “move on”.

Roisin Lacey SC, defending, said her client feels ashamed for betraying the trust placed in him by the victim. She said at the time he didn’t think what he was doing was wrong, but he now sees all the harm he has done.

Citing the report of a psychological assessment, Ms Lacey said that her client’s behaviour at that time may have been “rooted in sexual experimentation and confusion about sexual orientation”.

Ms Justice O’Connor said the aggravating factors include the breach of trust and the significant and ongoing impact of the offending. She noted that three year age difference and said there is “a notable difference” between the maturity of a 17-year-old and a 14-year-old”.

She noted in mitigation the defendant’s “significant” level of shame and remorse and the fact that he accepts full responsibility for the pain and suffering experienced by the victim. She said she also took into consideration the guilty pleas although she said these could not be considered as early pleas of guilty.

She imposed concurrent sentences of two and a half years on a number of counts. She suspended the final year on condition that he come under Probation Service supervision for one year and engage with counselling to address his sexual offending.

Ms Justice O’Connor told the victim that by coming forward he provided encouragement to other survivors that they might find the strength to make a complaint.

“I sincerely hope you will be able to move on,” she said.

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, or visit Rape Crisis Help.

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

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