Michael Casey was jailed for six years - Picture: Brendan Gleeson
A COUNTY Limerick businessman who was convicted of abusing a teenage girl over a prolonged period has been jailed for six years.
Throughout a four day trial which was heard in February, Michael Casey, aged 71, who has addresses in Caherconlish and at Mary Street in the city, denied a total of 19 charges.
While a jury acquitted him of three counts of sexual assault, he was found guilty of 16 charges of defilement.
The offences happened at a number of locations in Limerick and Clare on dates between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2011.
During the trial, evidence was heard that the victim, who was aged 13 when the abuse started, was known to Mr Casey.
Details of the abuse first emerged in February 2012 when the teenage girl told a friend at school about what had happened to her.
Gardai were subsequently contacted and an investigation launched.
The jury was told the abuse consisted of both digital and penile penetration of the teenager’s vagina.
In a victim impact statement, the victim said she he had lost her childhood and innocence because of what happened.
She said her life has “been on pause for years” and that she still has constant nightmares and flashbacks.
She added that she panics whenever she sees grey-haired men.
During a sentencing hearing last week, Colman Cody SC said his client maintains his innocence and disagrees with the verdict of the jury.
Therefore, he said, he was not in a position to offer any apology or expression of remorse on behalf of Mr Casey who, he said, previously owned a number of convenience stores across the city and county.
He said prison would have an enormous impact on the pensioner who has been the subject of considerable abuse on social media as a result of the court proceedings.
Imposing sentence, this Wednesday, Judge Tom O’Donnell said the age gap between Mr Casey and the victim was an aggravating factor as was the prolonged period of offending.
“It’s clear the accused took every opportunity he had to have his way with the victim,” he said as he handed down a six year prison sentence.
The judge ordered that Mr Casey’s name be placed on the register of sexual offenders indefinitely.