December 21, 2022

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Louth teenager gets three years for sex abuse of his niece and cousin

It is expected that the boy will be allowed to remain in Oberstown until he has completed his exams, before being moved into an adult prison.

A teenage boy who repeatedly sexually abused his niece and cousin has been handed a three-year period of detention.

The Louth teenager (17) pleaded guilty to four counts of anal rape, one count of rape, two counts of sexual exploitation and one count of sexual assault of the two girls at his home address on dates between November 2019 and March 2020.

He was 14 at the time of the offending, while the girls were aged between nine and 10.

At the Central Criminal Court on Wednesday, Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring said this was a “breach of trust” of his young relatives and their families.

She noted the offending had taken place in the boy's home, a place considered a “safe space by the children and their parents”.

Risk assessment

At an earlier sentencing hearing, Ms Justice Ring said she was concerned that there was no risk assessment carried out in terms of how likely the boy is to offend in the future.

“I'm concerned that an otherwise blameless child, as he was then, gets involved in what is the most serious of crimes – short of murder – the most serious offending that comes before the courts in this country,” Ms Justice Ring said.

Ms Justice Ring said the boy had “taken advantage” of the girls and caused “serious damage” to them.

Setting a headline sentence of four and half years’ detention, Ms Justice Ring indicated she would impose a sentence of nine years on an adult for this offending.

Ms Justice Ring noted the mitigating factors include the boy's guilty plea, his prior good character, expressions of remorse and his engagement with relevant services.

She handed the boy three years detention and ordered him to come under the supervision of the Probation Services for 18 months post-release.

It is expected that the boy will be allowed to remain in Oberstown until he has completed his exams, before being moved into an adult prison.

Vincent Heneghan SC, defending, told the court that Tusla have stated they have no concerns about child protection issues in relation to the boy's domestic situation.

A Probation Services report found the boy has not come to grips with what motivated him to abuse his relatives. Mr Heneghan said the boy was exposed to pornography around the age of 12 or 13, which could be a factor in his offending.

The abuse caused a breakdown of what was a previously close family, Mr Heneghan told the court.

Ms Justice Ring ordered the boy to have no contact with the victims in any form while in custody or under the supervision of the Probation Services.

She said she would like to impose restrictions on the boy's use of social media, computers and the internet, but that it was not practical.