14 months jail for indecent assault on babysitter


A Ballyshannon man, who was found guilty of indecently assaulting a 14-year-old girl who was babysitting his children in his home, while his wife was having a baby in hospital, has been jailed for 14 months at Donegal Town Circuit Court.

65-year-old Patrick Patton, Cashelard, Ballyshannon had denied indecently assaulting Geraldine McParlane in July 1980.

The father-of-three, and former ESB employee, was found guilty of the first count of indecently assaulting the young girl after a four- day trial at a previous sitting of the court.

That jury took almost three hours to find him guilty of the first count against the young female on a majority verdict of ten to two after failing to reach a unanimous verdict.

The jury had earlier found him not guilty of a second alleged indecent assault against Geraldine McParlane and not guilty of another alleged indecent assault against a second young female that allegedly happened in a period between June 1981 and August 1982 on unanimous verdicts on both counts.

Yesterday's court was told the defendant will be appealing the verdict to the Court of Criminal Appeal.

In jailing the defendant on the first count, Judge John Aylmer told the court it was clear from the evidence that there was a considerable amount of force and violence used against which the complainant struggled.

It also involved a significant breach of trust of a young girl of 14 who was related to the defendant’s wife.

Speaking shortly after the verdict, Geraldine McParlane, who waived her right to anonymity, said:

“I feel great relief that I was believed by the court system because a lot of the time I was not believed, and I have got justice.”

The victim’s impact statement added that by appealing the verdict the man was adding another unnecessary burden on her and her family.

She said he was conducting a reign of terror he had begun many years ago.

She thanked the gardai and he court for exposing the defendant as the child molester that he is.

The victim said she was still attending counselling until the burden of shame and blame is shifted where it belongs to Pat Patton.

Defence Counsel Michael Duffy told Tuesday's sitting said that “nothing I could say could minimize the gravity of such offending.

Judge John Aylmer said it was very difficult to rehabilitate someone who was in denial.

A Probation Report assessed him as being at a low risk of re-offending, the court heard.

The Counsel asked the court to consider a non-custodial sentence and if not then a sentence within the range available.

Judge John Aylmer rejected an appeal for bail for the defendant from defence counsel Michael Duffy, after he had sentenced Pat Patton to 14 months in jail at yesterday's sitting.