A 74-year-old Crolly man found guilty of indecently assaulting a teenager has been sentenced to six years in prison, with the final two years of the sentence suspended at a sitting of Donegal Town Circuit Court this afternoon.
The convicted man, John Barrow of Station House, Crolly was present in court for the sentencing hearing.
A Victim Impact Statement (VIS) read to the court, heard how the victim had lived his life in constant fear, felt constantly ashamed, felt he had no self worth, felt safer in groups of people, lived in fear after school hours, woke at night due to nightmares and turned to drink as a result of the abuse.
The victim, who wished not to be named, said in the statement that John Barrow had assured him that what was happening to him was natural.
“Everybody does these things behind closed doors,” the statement read.
The victim said that it was on the final occasion “that my head was numb and the penny dropped”. The victim turned to drink: “The more I drank the more depressed I got,” the statement added.
The man who wishes not to be named, is now in his 40’s and still suffers from panic attacks as a result of what happened to him.
“I hope I can start trusting others some day,” the statement read. The man thanked counsellors at the White Oaks rehabilitation centre and at the Rape Crisis Centre for their help.
At an earlier hearing in March, Barrow had denied sexually assaulting the boy, then aged 14, between 1989 and 1990 during a three-day trial at Letterkenny Circuit Court. A jury of five women and seven men returned a unanimous guilty verdict on all six charges.
The first five offences took place between August 01, 1989 and September, 1990. The sixth offence occurred between June 1, 1990 and September 1990.
Today, at sentencing in Donegal Town courthouse, Judge Cormac Quinn said during his sentencing that it was clear that Barrow did not accept the unanimous verdict of the jury,
He said that the aggravating factors were: the young age of the boy; the age of the accused at the time who was in his 40’s; the nature of the abuse; the fact that the boy was told not to tell anybody and that the abuse was premeditated.
The judge noted the age of the accused, the references handed into court on his behalf and that the accused had said he was willing to attend courses.
Barrow was sentenced to three years to run concurrently on the first three counts, he was sentenced to four years to run concurrently on the fourth and fifth counts and sentenced to six years on the final count.
The final two years of the six year sentence were suspended on the condition that Barrow enter a bond to the sum of €200, to be on good behaviour from the date of his release from prison, to complete a sex offenders’ course either in prison or within two years of his release and to be under the supervision of the probation services for a period of two years after his release.
Barrow is to attend all appointments with the probation services and is directed to attend any course that they recommend he should take.
Liberty was given to the probation services or gardaí to re-enter the case should Barrow fail to adhere to the conditions outlined by the judge.
His name will be added to the sex offenders’ list.
Legal aid was granted to include senior counsel in the event of an appeal.