A farm worker who sexually defiled his employer’s 14-year-old daughter hundreds of times has been jailed for eight and a half years.
Judge Karen O’Connor said the 30-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the child’s identity, effectively tricked the child into thinking he was in a romantic relationship.
The judge said there was evidence of controlling and degrading behavior on the part of the man, who was aged 28 to 29 at the time. He encouraged the child to take personally intimate photos.
He used coercion to control her, pressuring her to text him while she was at school and trying to control her online interactions with her friends, the judge said.
In a victim impact report, the schoolgirl said: “I thought I loved him; I think I fell in love. I didn’t want to lose him, but I knew he was toxic. and controlling.”
Judge O’Connor said the abuse had a devastating effect on the child, who put his worry of getting caught and getting into trouble above his “desperate need for help “.
“She knew it was toxic and didn’t know how to end it,” she said. The court heard the child started self-harming and attempted to overdose and there was evidence she wanted to get caught to get out of the relationship.
The breach came to light when the child’s father noticed his mobile phone bill had risen from €50 to €106 and there was an ‘inordinate amount’ of texts and calls from the accused .
The child admitted to her father that she had kissed the man and the man fired the accused on the spot. Some time later, the child confessed to his father that they had had sex.
The accused pleaded guilty in the Central Criminal Court to three counts of defiling a child under 15 and three counts of the separate offense of defiling a child under 17 year. The charges are sample counts of the aggregate offense over an eleven month period from August 2020 to July 2021.
The court heard the girl was at home because schools were closed due to Covid-19 and was in the farmyard more than usual and saw the defendant as a friend.
She was still 14 when he had sex with her and he continued to have sex with her almost daily until the offense came to light.
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The girl told specialist garda investigators that she and the man had sex “hundreds of times” and almost daily.
Seamus Clarke SC, defending, told the court that the man, a foreign national, came from a culture where girls as young as 13 began sexual activity with men and married as early as 15 years old.
He said his client was a hard-working father of three and the family would suffer financial hardship due to the detention of the breadwinner. He has no other criminal convictions.
Judge O’Connor noted that the man’s guilty pleas were “a great help” to the victim. She said the victim had shown immense courage and that by speaking out she could help others “find their voice”.