A LIMERICK man who groomed a young girl and sexually abused her over a five year period has been sentenced to five years imprisonment.
Last month, Owen O’Brien, aged 43, of Eden Terrace, North Circular Road pleaded guilty to six sample charges of sexually assaulting the girl on dates between January 1, 2002 and March 31, 2007.
All of the offences, the court heard, took place at locations in Limerick city when the girl was aged between six and 12.
O’Brien – a qualified accountant – who could not be identified until now made admissions to gardai when the abuse first came to light in June 2011.
Imposing sentence at Limerick Circuit Court this morning, Judge Tom O’Donnell said the victim, now aged 18, had shown “remarkable bravery” by coming forward and making a complaint to gardai about the abuse.
He said O’Brien had abused her over a prolonged period of time and that he had “stolen the innocence” of the victim.
He described the actions of the accused as the “cold, cunning, systematic, pre-meditated, calculated grooming and exploitation of a young girl for his own sexual gratification”.
The judge noted the contents of the teenager’s victim impact statement during which she described how she still suffers nightmares and flashbacks as a result of what happened.
She also changed her first name and her appearance in an effort to overcome the abuse she suffered.
Previously the court was told the abuse took place “two or three times a week” and involved inappropriate touching, masturbation and simulated intercourse.
“It was abuse of the most vile in nature, particularly given the age of the young girl,” said Judge O’Donnell who noted that O’Brien was remorseful and is currently participating in a rehabilitation programme.
However, the judge said given the serious nature of the offences a custodial sentence was warranted.
He sentenced O’Brien to five years imprisonment and ordered that he remain under supervision of the Probation Services for three years following his release.
O’Brien’s name was also place on the register of sexual offenders indefinitely.