A newly-wed man told gardai that a few months before he met his bride he cavorted with a 12-year-old girl and her friend who was three years older in a school playshed.
Colin Reynolds, a 27 year old father of two, was given a suspended 18-months sentence and ordered to be placed on the sex offenders’ register for admitting a sex assault on the 12-year-old yesterday.
Garda Liam Feeney said Reynolds, who was 19 at the time, described kissing the older girl while he had a hand on the 12-year-old’s leg.
A short while later Reynolds, now a 27-year-old father of two, moved with the younger girl a short distance away from the older girl to kiss her.
The court heard that although Reynolds, - who married three weeks ago - of Highfield, Ballyshannon, denied having full sex with the girl in early Garda statements he now admitted the offence. The girl said they had full sex.
Gda Liam Feeney said at today’s sentencing hearing in Donegal Circuit Court that he was aware that the event was on Reynolds’ conscience for the past two years and he wanted to plead guilty and would have done this if the decision was his alone but he was acting on legal advice.
Gda Feeney added that Reynolds certainly had a conscience about what happened
Judge Raymond Fullam was told Reynolds heard that the 12-year-old “fancied” him on the night she made her Confirmation and they kissed and hugged and he rubbed her backside that night. The offence occurred in a school play-shed six or eight weeks later in August 2002.
Reynolds fought back tears as he told the court his wife, who he met in February 2003, was sticking by him.
Judge Fullam said he accepted Reynolds was remorseful for his crime against the girl but both parties had since “redeemed” themselves and he did not believe the interests of society would be served if he was sent to jail for one offence out of a litany committed by others. Gardai did not believe Reynolds would re-offend.
The 18 month-sentence was suspended for five years. Reynolds will also remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years.
Six men have been before the courts for sex assaults on the girl. A former Army private has served a year of a sentence of two years and three months, another man was jailed last month for nine months, another is awaiting sentence after his conviction by a jury last month, another who admitted a single offence is due to be sentenced today and another man who has denied offences is due for trial in December.