A 27-year-old man was jailed for two years yesterday when he admitted committing a serious sex offence against a 13-year-old girl in what the court was told was a drink-drugs orgy.
Judge John O’Hagan heard that the girl was frightened when told earlier by jobless Thomas O’Hara – who was 23 at the time – that if gardai found a young girl drunk they would beat her up and throw her in a cell.
The court heard that the girl ended up in bed at 4 .a.m. in March 2007 with O’Hara after he asked her to “go with” him and she replied that he was 10 years older.
Investigator Sgt Tony Cornyn said that in the bedroom O’Hara started touching the girl, but she asked him to stop.
In the girl’s victim impact statement read to the court by the prosecution she said that as a result of what happened that night she started failing at school and started drinking at weekends because she wanted to forget what O’Hara did to her. She woke up at night screaming and crying and turned against those who cared for her.
Her out-of-control behaviour lasted until Christmas 2009 when she began to clean up her life. That Christmas an aunt lost her baby who was going to be the girl’s god-daughter.
She realised enough of her life had been ruined by O’Hara and she was now back at school and hoped to go on to study social work.
Judge O’Hagan referred to Probation Service reports which said O’Hara continued to mingle with young people including under-18s and appeared to have accepted no responsibility for what happened. The reports said the risk of re-offending remained high.
The Judge said if O’Hara had not pleaded guilty to the sex assault on a 13-year-old girl and forced a jury trial he would have gone to jail for at least four years on conviction.
He jailed O’Hara, of Carrickbar, Laghey, and who recently moved to live a few miles away in Donegal town, to two years and placed him on the sex-offenders’ register. The judge refused to suspend any of the sentence.