Limerick man pleads guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault of two girls

David Hurley


David Hurley

The man pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexually assaulting the two girls at a house in a village in County Limerick

The man pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexually assaulting the two girls at a house in a village in County Limerick

THE mother of two young girls who were sexually abused by her former partner has described how their innocence was taken away as a result of the sexual, emotional and mental abuse he inflicted.

The 47-year-old defendant, who has an address in Limerick city, has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexually assaulting the two girls at a house in a village in County Limerick on various dates between July 1, 2009 and February 28, 2013.

The victims, who cannot be identified because of their age, were aged four and seven when the first of the offences took place.

The defendant has also pleaded guilty to a single charge of sexually exploiting one of the girls at another house on the outskirts of the city on a date between March 1, 2009 and September 30, 2013.

During a sentencing hearing, Detective Garda Denise Moriarty said the girls’ mother only became aware of the abuse in June 2014 after the older victim threatened to commit suicide she and her former partner were to get back together.

She told John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, she contacted gardai the following day and that a criminal investigation was launched.

During interviews with specially-trained gardai, the girls said the defendant used to get naked with them and that he would make them play with his penis.

“One played with it while one kissed it. Then they swapped over,” said Detective Garda Moriarity who added that on at least one occasion the man, who has a son with the girls’ mother, had watched adult pornography during which he asked the younger girl to “judge” the size of his penis compared to that on the television. The detective agreed with Mark Nicholas SC, defending, there was “no evidence” of penetration and that it was difficult to establish exactly what had happened given the girl’s age.

During interview following his arrest, the defendant initially denied anything inappropriate had happened.

“He denied the allegation, he said he was only naked when appropriate such as at bath and shower times,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

In a later interview, the man claimed the older of the two girls had caught him masturbating on one occasion and had taken his hand and placed it on her vagina.

In another interview, the man said the younger of the two girls started touching him after she “caught” him and her sister downstairs in the house where they lived.

Detective Garda Moriarty told the court the defendant ultimately accepted he had sexually assaulted the girls telling gardai he was “turned on” when doing so and had become aroused beforehand. In a victim impact statement, the girls’ mother described what happened as a “devastating nightmare” which has resulted in her daughters becoming withdrawn and being sceptical of most men.

“For me this horrifying experience has been extremely painful and one I will never forget,” she said adding that she has endured many sleepless nights wondering how her former partner managed to manipulate her.

“(I have) wrecked my head trying to come to terms with how I was blinded and couldn’t see what was going on. He had me fooled and manipulated the girls and made them fearful of speaking out and looking for help,” she said.

She added that her son will never know his father and that it upsets her that he will never have a father figure in his life.

Mr Nicholas said his client’s admissions were very important and that he now has an insight into his behaviour.

He submitted the offending was in the lower half of the spectrum.

Judge O’Donnell will impose sentence next month.