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GAA figure jailed for abusing two sisters

July 15, 2014 · 

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

By: Gordon Deegan
A judge yesterday sentenced a well-known GAA figure to two years in jail for the sexual abuse of two sisters over a five-year period.

At Ennis Circuit Court, Judirish examinerge Gerald Keyes said the 59-year-old man had committed “a serious breach of trust” by sexually abusing two girls who were both aged 13 when the abuse started in the 1990s.

The man had pleaded guilty last April at Limerick Circuit Court to sexually assaulting one of the girls on three occasions on dates between August 1991 and August 1993.

He also admitted to sexually assaulting the second girl on three occasions on dates between 1995 and 1997. He had been on bail to appear in court yesterday.

The offences, the court heard, took place in a bedroom of a house in Co Limerick and in a vehicle owned by the accused.

Judge Keyes said the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was prominent in sporting circles and was held in high regard.

However, he noted one of the victims had recalled the man “used his position in the community as a deterrent from her speaking out earlier as she felt no one would believe her”.

He told the accused: “The memories of your actions continue to haunt her and made her feel guilty and ashamed.”

In relation to the second victim, Judge Keyes said her motivation in coming forward “was to ensure that other children would not be put at risk by you”.

The judge told the man his misconduct had a very profound and damaging effect on the victims.

In relation to the aggravating factors in the case, Judge Keyes said that the man persistently denied sexually assaulting the girls when interviewed by gardaí and used the girls for his own sexual gratification for at least four to five years.

He said the man abused his position by telling the girls “that they would not be believed if they made a complaint against him”. He said: “This was a serious breach of trust.”

However, he noted that the man had pleaded guilty and had apologised to the complainants and to their mother by letter in April of this year. He said the man — who has no previous convictions — has only recently shown remorse.

Judge Keyes said that the accused “appreciates for the first time the seriousness of what you did and between the age of nine and 12 you yourself were sexually abused by a neighbour”.

The judge said the man has had no contact with the victims since 2007.

He imposed a two-year sentence on each of the counts to run concurrently.

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