July 2019

Pervert jailed for abuse of schoolgirl

A teenage girl who was sexually assaulted by a man has told a court that her “innocence and childhood were taken away” by her abuser.

41-year-old Desmond Burke of Dublin was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for three counts of sexual assault on a child

The victim was aged 14 when the attacks happened. The court heard that the man sexually assaulted the child three times over the course of a week.

He had denied the charges but was found unanimously guilty by a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in May.

Passing sentence today, Judge Karen O’Connor suspended the final six months on condition that the man be subject to supervision by the Probation Service.

In a victim impact statement which she read aloud to the court with her mother by her side, the girl said she felt “so dirty, so depressed and so angry” that she had self-harmed, leaving her legs permanently scarred.

She said she had multiple thoughts of ending her own life and was at such high risk of suicide that her parents at one stage took it in turns to stay up all night to check on her.

“I just wanted the pain to stop,” she said. “I couldn’t live with the thought that my first sexual interaction had been with a man three times my age.”

She has suffered from depression, post-traumatic stress and has missed a lot of school.

The girl also said her mother was “heartbroken and angry” and couldn’t eat or sleep properly for months.

“She told me that she had made a promise to me when I was born that she would always keep me safe, and now that promise had been broken,” the girl read.

Judge O’Connor said she was taking into consideration the man’s lack of any other convictions, his health difficulties and the fact that he has a young child.

She noted the man will be registered as a sex offender and will be subject to post release supervision.

She backdated the sentence to 21 June when the man went into custody.