A former Dublin bus driver who sexually assaulted five young girls after persistently grooming them and later harassed a nine-year-old boy and requested naked photographs from him has been jailed for eight years.
Dermot Carr (51), of Royal Canal Park, Dublin 15, went on to harass the nine-year-old boy, giving him alcohol and cannabis and asking him to engage in sexual activity.
Carr initially pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to a charge of harassment of a child and sending sexually explicit images to a child on dates between January 2013 and July 2018.
He elected for trial in relation to the sexual assault allegations against five young girls.
Carr then later pleaded guilty to two charges of sexually assaulting one girl, two charges of sexually assaulting a second girl, one charge of sexually assaulting a third girl, two charges of sexually assaulting a fourth girl and one charge of sexually assaulting a fifth girl, on dates between January 2001 and May 2006.
The court heard that Carr was in his late 20s and early 30s when he sexually assaulted the five girls, who were as young as 11 at the time.
He met each of the girls through his niece, secured their mobile numbers and engaged in text conversations with them which were both persistent and sexually suggestive.
He also regularly bought the girls phone credit in order to facilitate the text conversations and supplied some of the girls with drugs and alcohol at his apartment.
Most of the sexual assaults occurred in his car when he was alone with the girls and involved forcing them to masturbate him, touching their vagina, both inside and outside of their clothes, touching their breasts and kissing them.
In relation to the fifth girl, Carr tried to have sex with her as she lay on a bed in his apartment because she was tired, the court heard. She was 17 years’ old at the time and had been out celebrating her graduation after Carr brought her and her friends to a nightclub. She managed to push the man off her to bring the assault to an end.
The man got to know the young boy through his former partner and began communicating with the child over text when the boy was nine. The accused was 41 at the time.
He initially began telling the child the kind of sexual activity he would like to engage in with the boy’s mother, but later sent the boy photographs of his own genitals and requested the child to do the same.
Carr brought the child to his apartment and allowed him to smoke cannabis and drink alcohol, while repeatedly asking the child to engage in sexual activity with him. The child never engaged in that activity with the man but did send him photographs of his genitals as requested.
Mr Justice David Keane commended the “courage and tenacity of each of the victims” and acknowledged that it could not have been easy for them to disclose the abuse. He said they had “shown impressive resilience” and wished each of them well in terms of their recovery.
The judge said this was “a pattern of offending over many years” while Carr was in his late 20s until his mid 40s. He described it as “deliberate and persistent grooming” by a mature adult on impressionable and confused teenagers.
Mr Justice Keane said it represented a significant abuse of trust as Carr knew the families of each of the victims.
He took into account his admissions of guilt “at a reasonably early stage” and the fact that this spared the victims “additional trauma” of having to give evidence at trial.
He ordered the defendant pay a sum of €10,000 in compensation over to the first female victim.
The judge noted that Carr has support from his family who, while they do not condone his behaviour, have indicated they are prepared to support him upon his ultimate release from prison. He further noted a report from the Probation Service put Carr at a “medium risk of re-offending”.
Mr Justice Keane imposed various headline sentences ranging from 16 months to eight years but having taken into account the mitigating factors he reduced these to 12 months to six years.
The judge said he needed to consider consecutive sentencing, given the fact that the man’s behaviour “directly affected six lives” and ordered that the sentences relating to the sexual assault of the five girls be imposed consecutively to the sentence in relation to the nine-year-old boy.
Carr was then handed consecutive sentences totalling nine years.
Mr Justice Keane suspended the final year of this term on strict conditions including that the man engage with the Probation Service for three years upon his ultimate release from prison and undergo any counselling they deem appropriate.
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.