A Dublin man who sexually abused his step-daughter and secretly recorded her in the bathroom has been jailed for six years.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the 50 year old man used a camera hidden inside a clock to take videos of his step-daughter in the shower which he then sent to another man.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, pleaded guilty to sexual assault at his then address on an unknown date between September 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014.
He also pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography on a date between November 12, 2015 and December 16, 2016, and to producing child pornography on a date between November 11, 2015 and April 16, 2016. He has no previous convictions.
A local garda told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, that in 2016 a search warrant was executed at an address in Donegal. The man who resided there said the accused man had sent him videos of his step-daughter, who was aged 13 or 14 at the time.
The garda said the accused man's house was then searched and various items were seized. A total of 96 videos and 82 images of child pornography were found across two devices.
Gardaí also discovered messages sent between the accused man and the man in Donegal.
The victim, who was aged 12 or 13 at the time of the assault, told gardaí that on a night when her mother was not in the house, the man told her to come into his bedroom. He began rubbing aloe vera on her eczema and told her if she wore her bra too much it could hurt her.
She took off her bra because she was scared and he asked if she wanted a massage. The man proceeded to rub her breasts and her bum.
In her victim impact statement, which she read before the court, the victim said that her anxiety got worse with the news that the man had pleaded guilty. She said she sees him sometimes and instantly gets a panic attack.
The victim said that the man made her feel “worthless, dirty and a liar”. She said she did not believe she deserved anything and put all the blame on herself.
She said she was “trapped in the hell house” and that no one should ever feel the pain she had. She said she was terrified of the man and never wanted to be alone with him.
The victim said the man is “a monster”. She said she still has bouts of depression and has been left with a life sentence.
She said that during the assault, the man told her not to tell anyone because he would get in trouble. She said the man always told her that “little girls should be seen and not heard”.
The garda agreed with Caroline Biggs SC, defending, that no images of the victim were found on her client's electronic devices. She agreed that the man had admitted to secretly filming the victim and sending these recordings on to the man in Donegal.
Ms Biggs said her client had displayed a hostility to women, but that is no longer the case. She said her client is aware he has harmed everyone he has come into contact with and has “genuine shame” for what he has done.
Judge Elma Sheahan said the man had experience of living with and raising small children and therefore when watching child pornography “he was fully cognisant of the helplessness” of those he watched.
Judge Sheahan said that the placing of a video camera inside a clock to film the victim for his own sexual gratification “has to be viewed as a continuation of the sexual abuse” of the victim.
She said that as the man had to purchase, set up and operate by remote control the recording unit, “his culpability is therefore high”.
Judge Sheahan sentenced the man to six years and nine months imprisonment, but suspended the final nine months on strict conditions including that undergo two years of supervision by the Probation Service following his release from custody.