A PENSIONER who has multiple convictions for sexual offences dating back almost 50 years is due to be sentenced this Thursday after he admitted repeatedly abusing two school boys in Limerick city a year ago.
Douglas Taffe, aged 77, of no fixed abode, befriended his victims, who were aged nine and 10 at the time, by rewarding them with cigarettes, money, crisps and soft drinks.
At Limerick Circuit Court, he pleaded guilty to six sample charges having initially appeared before Limerick court last February charged with a total of 19 counts.
During a sentencing hearing, Det Garda Mark Deasy, Mayorstone, said the offences happened on a daily basis over a “three or four week period” during late October and early November 2011.
He said 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.
He said Taffe helped one of the boys climb down from a tree and that he told them his name was “Francis”.
Det Garda 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 boy’s pants and feel their genitals and buttocks.
Taffe, Det Garda Deasy said, also forced the two boys to kiss him on the lips.
He agreed with John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that the location where the offences happened is “popular with young boys”.
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.
Judge Carroll Moran was told Taffe has 26 previous convictions relating to sexual offences which happened on dates between January 1, 1966 and February 23, 2008.
The 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.
Mr O’Sullivan said although the offences first began in 1966, Taffe’s first conviction was not recorded until 1999.
Andrew Sexton SC, said his client had himself been abused as a child as he was institutionalised when he was just six months old.
Mr Sexton said that Taffe, who was living in a hostel in the city at the time of last year’s offences, does not have any friends or family and that he is a “lonely man”.
He told the court that substantial monies which his client received from the Residential Institutions Redress Board had been used to pay compensation to one of his victims.
“The wheel has come full circle,” he said adding that it was a “dreadful tale of woe”.
Mr Sexton noted that a report submitted to the court showed the two young boys were “doing well” and he said Taffe’s guilty plea had given the victims and their families “some relief”.
Judge Moran said it was one of the most difficult cases he had come across as a judge and he said he needed some time to consider what sentence he should impose.
However, the judge lifted reporting restrictions which had previously prevented the identification of the accused man and the location of the offences in the media.