A 78-YEAR-OLD man has been convicted at Limerick District Court for carrying out two sexual assaults on his young grandson.
The boy was four years old at the time of the earlier offence, Judge Eugene O’Kelly was told.
The victim’s mother – who is the daughter of the accused – was visibly upset and stormed out of the courtroom just after Judge O’Kelly directed that the pensioner not be named in the media to protect the identity of his victim.
Asked what the nature of the assault on the boy was, Sgt Donal Cronin said it concerned the “inappropriate touching of his genitalia”.
The accused pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault, in Limerick, on dates unknown between October and December 2009 and between May and September 2010.
The matters had come to light following “interaction between the boy and his mother”, Sgt Cronin said. “A complaint came in and was fully investigated,” he added.
Judge O’Kelly heard that the accused was convicted in Limerick District Court in May of this year for sexually assaulting another child. He is currently appealing the severity of the eight-month sentence handed down by Judge Gerard Haughton on that date to the Circuit Court. A report from the Probation and Welfare Service will be considered by the higher court on October 19.
The pensioner’s solicitor, Sarah Ryan, handed the judge a copy of a psychiatric report and said a long-term programme of counselling was being put in place.
The accused man’s wife, who sat beside him in the body of the court, was “committed to supporting him in getting treatment and is doing her level best” in a situation that was causing “considerable pain” in the family, Ms Ryan said.
Judge O’Kelly said he was “loathe to give any penalty that would suggest this is being minimalised”. But he had to also consider that the accused was “getting the help that is important to ensure there is no recidivism”.
He was sentenced to six months in prison on one count of sexual assault, suspended for two years. The other count was taken into consideration.
The suspension of the prison term, Judge O’Kelly said, was contingent on the 78-year-old “engaging fully” with whatever counselling was recommended.
“If he doesn’t, he is going to spend a very uncomfortable time, at his age, in prison,” said the judge.