A MAN who groomed and sexually abused a young girl over a five year period when she was a child was sentenced to two years imprisonment.
Martin Roche, aged 54, who has an address at South Circular Road, pleaded guilty to eight sample charges when he was arraigned at Limerick Circuit Court earlier this year.
The offences occurred at three different addresses on the outskirts of the city on dates between January 1, 1984 and December 31, 1989.
The victim, who now lives in Great Britain, was aged five when the first of the offences happened. She is now aged 36.
Most of the offences involved the defendant kissing and touching the girl in her vagina area while on another occasion he forced her to feel his penis after he took her to a field on the pretext that he was showing her some horses.
The injured party first contacted gardai in June 2010 and made a formal statement of complaint in August of the same year.
Mr Roche initially denied all of the allegations when he was arrested and questioned in November 2011.
However, he subsequently made admissions in relation to some of the offences and later acknowledged his wrong doing.
In her Victim Impact Statement, the woman said she had been manipulated by Mr Roche and was “bullied into a world of silence, shame, fear and anxiety”.
She said as a child she worried that she could be pregnant and that she “grew up into an adolescent with no confidence, very low self belief and poor body image.”
The woman, who continues to attend counselling added she had made a complaint and attended court to “seek justice for that six-year-old little girl who had her innocence robbed from her and replaced with a future of shame and anxiety”.
Imposing sentence, this Wednesday, Judge Carroll Moran noted that Mr Roche has already suffered as he is estranged from his wife and family.
The judge also noted that the defendant now has an insight into what he did and the impact of his actions.
He imposed a three-year prison sentence, suspending the final year.
Mr Roche’s name will remain on the sex offenders register for ten years.