November 2017

Residential care abuse victim pleads guilty to sexually abusing boy

A 62-year-old man who was the victim of child sexual abuse while in care as a teenager has been jailed for four years for sexually abusing a boy over a period of several years after befriending him and his family.

John Rath from Innishmore Park in Ballincollig, Co Cork, pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to eight sample counts from a total of 20 charges that he sexually assaulted the boy at various locations in Cork and elsewhere between January 1st, 2003, and December 31st, 2008.

Det Garda Rory McGrath said McGrath, a married man and former sergeant in the Defence Forces, readily admitted the abuse and co-operated fully with the Garda investigation when questioned about the abuse and he had pleaded guilty to the offences before the case could go to trial.

Det Garda McGrath said Rath had befriended the boy and his family to the extent that he used to call to their house at a time when he was abusing the boy. The abuse involved oral sex and masturbation and took place from when the boy was aged 12 until he was 17.

The victim, who is now in his late 20s, told in a victim impact statement how his parents had to deal with huge feelings of guilt and anger when they discovered he had been abused as they felt that they had failed to properly protect him from Rath, whom they had invited into their home.

“A lot of my childhood years and innocence were lost at your hands – I cannot forgive you for what you have done – you have ruined my life. You not only hurt my family but you have also hurt your own,” said the victim in his statement.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said there were seriously aggravating factors in the case, including the sustained nature of the abuse while the fact it took places in a number of locations suggested he was preying upon and exploiting the boy in a manner that amounted to “an enormous breach of trust”.

Judge Ó Donnabháin said the complainant had showed great maturity and insight in his impact statement when he commented on the feelings of guilt his parents had felt when they discovered he had been abused and the judge hoped the complainant got some solace from Rath’s guilty plea.

“The victim went through a long, dark and deep tunnel. I would ask him to consider that Rath, by pleading guilty, publicly acknowledges that the offender is Rath and that the boy was at all stages innocent and wronged,” he said.

He sentenced Rath to six years in jail but suspended the final two years on condition that he be of good behaviour upon his release and he backdated the sentence to November 8th when Rath went into custody after first pleading guilty to the offences.