Pensioner sentenced for abusing boys along Limerick canal

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

A PENSIONER who was himself a victim of abuse has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for sexually abusing two school boys in Limerick city.

A PENSIONER who was himself a victim of abuse has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for sexually abusing two school boys in Limerick city.

Douglas Taffe, aged 77, of no fixed abode, befriended the boys, aged nine and 10 at the time, by rewarding them with cigarettes, money, crisps and soft drinks.

The court heard that Taffe’s period of abuse covers six decades, including 26 previous convictions relating to sexual offences, and in the latest case at Limerick Circuit Court he pleaded guilty to six sample charges. The offences happened on a daily basis over a “three or four week period” during late October and early November 2011. Taffe first met the boys, who can’t be named in order to protect their identity, when they were fishing at Canal Bank during their mid-term break from school.

Det Garda Mark Deasy said the defendant then lured the boys to an area located off the main pathway on Canal Bank where a makeshift hut is located. While there, he would put his hands down the boys’ pants and feel their genitals and buttocks, as well as forcing them to kiss him on the lips.

The court was told that gardai became aware of the offences when the mother of one of the boys confronted Taffe after her son told her that he had given him cigarettes.

The full extent of the abuse only emerged after the boys were subsequently interviewed by specially trained gardai.

His previous offences, which happened at locations in Limerick, Cork, Tipperary and Kilkenny include rape, sexual assault and the indecent assault of a number of different boys and girls.

Andrew Sexton, SC, said his client had himself been abused as a child as he was institutionalised when he was just six months old. He later received compensation for that abuse, but then used that money to pay compensation to one of his own victims.

In imposing sentence, Judge Carroll Moran noted that Taffe poses a serious risk to young children and is at a “high risk of re-offending”. However, he said he “couldn’t commit him to prison forever”. He imposed a six-year sentence, with the last 18 months to be suspended and ordered that he must not have any unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18.