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Grandfather, 76, jailed for rape of teenage babysitter

A 76-year-old man who raped and sexually assaulted a teenage girl who was babysitting the children of a woman he was having an affair with more than 30 years ago has been jailed for eight years.

The court heard that in one incident of rape, the Dublin man called to the girl’s home on the pretext of taking her for an interview for a job at nearby newsagents. He instead took her for a drive to the Wicklow mountains where he raped her.

The court heard that on the drive the teenager was frantic and screaming as she was afraid of what the man might do and was concerned he might kill her. He handed her a bar of chocolate and a lollipop after the rape.

The now 76-year-old man had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to charges of rape and indecent assault of the then 15-year-old girl in Dublin between November 1988 and August 1989.

A jury convicted him on two charges of rape and three charges of indecent assault following an eight-day trial last month.

The man was around 41 years old at the time and was married with children. He was having an affair at the time with a woman who the then teenager had been babysitting for.

Mr Justice Patrick McGrath described the complainant, who is now 51, as “a brave woman who has not allowed these crimes to defeat her, but has determinedly brought up her children and put herself through college”.

He also highly commended her for “her bravery and determination in reporting the crime and giving evidence at trial”.

Mr Justice McGrath said the rape offences warranted a headline sentence of 12 years taking into account the aggravating factors including the fact that the man committed violent offences of a sexual nature against “a somewhat vulnerable” teenager.

“He clearly took advantage of her”, the judge commented before he said the man had the teenager under his control and perpetrated these offences against her.

He described it as “a sequence of escalating offending” that involved “a degree of premeditation” and on many occasions he had “ignored her pleading to stop”.

Mr Justice McGrath imposed a sentence of 11 years.

He suspended the final three years of that term, taking into account what he described as the mitigating factors including the man’s current age, that he had been of “otherwise good character and led a pro-social life as a hard-working family man”.

The judge noted many testimonials handed in on the man’s behalf, including one from his wife, which described him as “a doting grandfather”.

He said the man is to engage with the Probation Service upon his ultimate release from prison, not have any contact with the woman or her family either directly or indirectly and not have any unsupervised access to children under the age of 18 years old.

A local garda told Patricia McLaughlin SC defending that the woman did not report the incidents to gardaí for a number of years.

When the allegations were ultimately put to the man in November 2020, he denied the offences and tried to distance himself from any knowledge of the victim.

‘Nowhere was safe for me’

The garda read the woman’s victim impact statement into the record.

She said: “Today is the day I get justice – it took 35 years but it still feels like yesterday”, before she added that the man had belittled her and made her feel like dirt.

She said he made her feel like she was no one and he was someone. “I thought you would get away with what you had done. That you were laughing at me. You made me afraid…I felt nowhere was safe for me.”

She said at 15 years old she believed that she had no one to listen to her and the man knew this and used it to his advantage.

She described how she has had to pull herself out of the “darkest places time and time again” and said it was only through putting herself through college to qualify as a counsellor herself that she finally found her voice.

She described having lived a lonely life, trusting no one and said her lack of friends and family made her life very small.

“At 51 years old my suffering can end. I have been heard and your suffering can begin,” the woman said.

She said the man made her feel that she would never be believed and said he had poisoned both her body and her mind.

“I wished I could have been more carefree, not to have spent most of my life afraid of the outside world. Now I can start healing,” the woman concluded her statement.

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