June 2010

Suspended sentence for sexual assault of girl (12)

A man was given a 12-month suspended sentence for sexually assaulting a vulnerable 12-year-old girl 

Christopher Donegan (51) of Alpine Heights, Clondalkin, Dublin, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment — suspended for two years — and ordered to post a personal bond of €200 at Blanchardstown District Court after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting the young girl on July 29, 2008.

The victim — who is in long-term State care — wrote in a victim impact statement that the assault left her scared and “angry all the time”.

She also said she didn’t want to to testify in court because she was “too afraid to see him”.

The court heard that Mr Donegan had won some money and was celebrating his win when he met a group of young girls hanging around outside the pub.

He began chatting with them and bought drink for the girls, who drank it in a nearby field.

He then walked the victim — who had absconded from her residential care facility — to a derelict lot near a bus stop, where he undid his trousers and ordered her to touch his penis.

The victim also said that he left a bruise on her neck from a “hickey” he gave her while kissing and sucking her neck.

Mr Donegan said the assault “just happened” and he was unable to say why he did it or remember the incident clearly.

The separated father of two adult children, who has a four-year-old grandson, sat with his head down when District Court Judge Patrick McMahon delivered the sentence.

His barrister, Simon Fleming, said his client had never committed any sexual offences previously and noted that a psychiatrist’s report found him to be at low risk of re-offending. He also said his client had been sober since last October.

But Judge McMahon said: “As far as I’m concerned, once is too much for this type of offence.”

Referring to the “defilement of a child who is in care”, he called the assault a “predatory type of crime to a vulnerable child”.