Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Man jailed for 11 years for raping 15-year-old boy

By Declan Brennan

A MAN has been sentenced to 11 years in jail for raping a teenager in Co Laois.

The presiding judge said that he used his membership of a voluntary paramedic organisation to target two boys whom he then drugged and sexually assaulted.

In one attack, the 29-year-old Co Kildare man used an oxygen mask to force one 15-year-old victim to inhale a pain-relief drug before sexually assaulting him. In a second attack, the accused raped the unconscious child while another man recorded it on his mobile phone.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victims, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to oral rape of one boy at a place in Co Laois on 7 May 2018.

He also admitted meeting the child for the purpose of sexual exploitation and aiding and abetting in the production of child pornography.

He also pleaded guilty to sexual assault and sexual exploitation of another child on 18 May 2018 at a place in south Dublin and in the Wicklow mountains. Finally, he admitted stealing items, including a vial of Penthrox and a carbon dioxide chamber from Naas racecourse on an unknown date in 2018.

Penthrox is an analgesic used by medical practitioners, the defence forces, ambulance paramedics, sports clubs and surf lifesavers to administer emergency pain relief.

It is administered by attaching a vial of the liquid drug to a pipe-like device called a green whistle, which is then used to inhale the drug.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott adjourned the case on Monday after hearing details of the offending.

Last Wednesday, 27 May, he imposed an 11-year prison term, with 18 months suspended, after saying that the attacks were planned in a predatory way, where the man used his membership of the voluntary organisation to cultivate the trust of the victims and their families.

He said that the use of a drug to debilitate the victim was a particularly aggravating feature of this case.

The judge described as sinister the making of a permanent video record. He said the men made the video with cold and ruthless pursuit and with an indifference to the welfare of the victim in that incident.

He said it was very damaging to the victim, who was bound to be upset by the knowledge of its existence.

Mr Justice McDermott said these attacks were egregious breaches of trust by the men of the boys and their families, who believed the victims were safe with these men.

He said the man used his membership of the voluntary paramedic organisation to lure the victims and their family into a false sense of security.

The judge said that while the man’s good work as a member of voluntary organisations was a mitigating factor in his favour, he chose to use the network of friendship gained through these organisations “as a vehicle to target the two boys”.

He said the defendant took a lead role in the procurement of the victims and of the drug and in the planning of the attacks.

He and his accomplice took care that the boys had consumed enough of the drug to render them incapable to a point where the men “could do what they pleased” with them, said Mr Justice McDermott.

He imposed an overall sentence of 11 years. He suspended the last 18 months for a period of two years on condition the man not approach either victim, abstain from any employment involving care or supervision of children and attend probation service treatment programmes for the protection of potential future victims.

The court heard that a probation service report assessed the man as being at a high risk of re-offending. The report stated that, during assessment, the man showed no insight into the harm caused by his actions and was unable to accept that he manipulated the victims.

Defence counsel James Dwyer SC submitted his client expressed regret for his actions and the damage he had done.

He said he now accepts completely the victim’s accounts and is no longer making any case that the victims instigated sexual activity. After his arrest, he had told gardaí that one of the victims had initiated the sex and had been coherent at all times.

The court heard that on two occasions the man went to the homes of the victims and picked them up in a car driven by a second man. He then administered the drug by either holding the whistle to the victim’s mouth or holding an oxygen mask to their face.

On each occasion, the victim was knocked out and awoke to find the man sexually assaulting him.

The court heard that before the assaults, the man had carried out internet searches such as “nitrous oxide side-effects”, “Penthrox and knock out”, and “how much Methoxyflurane does it take to knock you out”.

Methoxyflurane is the active ingredient in Penthrox, the court heard.

After the complainants came forward, the defendant was suspended from the paramedic organisation and suspended from a nursing course he was on. The court heard he had been doing a placement at a national children’s hospital.

Medical evidence was given, which stated that Penthrox should not be administered to anyone under the age of 18. The court heard that the whistle device used by the man had been altered so that a filter had been removed.

Dr Aidan McGoldrick said this alteration meant the effects of the pain-relief drug would be four times more potent and would cause memory loss.

Mr Justice McDermott also imposed a two-year period of post-release supervision on the man, after noting “he has demonstrated a worrying capacity and willingness to seek out young children for his own gratification”.

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