Nenagh Court heard the young girl "was afraid he would come to her home or school because she told on him"
A YOUNG girl who was sexually abused by her uncle, a garda from the Limerick division, “was afraid he would come to her home or school because she told on him,” a court has heard.
The garda who was convicted, earlier this year, of sexually assaulting his niece at his home was remanded in custody this Wednesday following a sentencing hearing.
Following a trial, which lasted more than two weeks, the defendant was found guilty of the single charge which related to an incident which happened in November 2016.
The offence happened outside of Limerick and the garda member was suspended a short time after a formal complaint was made.
Richard Gomm, an investigator with the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission, told Roisín Lacey SC the defendant had been socialising with other family members at a pub in the town where he was living and that he left the pub before 2am and walked home.
Ms Lacey said after the babysitter left, the defendant, who is aged in his forties, entered the bedroom where his goddaughter was sleeping and sexually assaulted her.
The victim, who was aged 10 at the time, disclosed what happened to her mother later in the night.
She later told specialist interviewers that while she was pretending to be asleep the defendant had rubbed her back before penetrating her “front bum” with his finger for several minutes.
She experienced discomfort and a stinging sensation afterwards and attended a hospital with her parents the following morning.
In a victim impact statement, her mother told Nenagh Circuit Court the incident had a devastating impact on her daughter and her family.
“She was a very happy and fun-loving child who loved music and singing,” she said adding she became physically and emotionally distressed following the assault.
Judge Thomas Teehan was told the young girl was afraid her uncle would come to her home or school “because she told on him” and she developed regressive and compulsive-type behaviour.
The girl found it difficult to sleep for a number of months after the incident and again ahead of the trial.
“Her mood was low, she was withdrawn, she would not discuss her feelings,” said her mother adding: “She lost trust in us”.
When asked to write how she felt, the victim wrote several words on a piece of paper – very sad, scared, lonely, angry, and dissappointed – which was handed to the judge.
Colman Cody SC told Judge Teehan his client “does not accept” the verdict of the jury and he requested an adjournment of the case to July to facilitate the preparation of a psychiatric report.
He said his client was consenting to being remanded in custody and that while he would initially be brought to Limerick Prison he would quickly be transferred to the Midlands Prison.