herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

'We hope you rot', sex abuser told as he is jailed for 14 years

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court (Stock photo)
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court (Stock photo)

A convicted sex offender has been jailed for 14 years for raping a boy and sexually abusing another child 20 years later.

Associates of the victims told Kenneth Cooke (53) to "enjoy his time in prison" and to "rot in there" as he was led away to begin the sentence.

Cooke is already serving a nine-year sentence imposed in 2014 for the sexual abuse of a female victim 20 years ago.

Cooke, of Limekiln Green, Walkinstown, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 21 counts of sexually assaulting a boy from January 2000 to July 2003, when the victim was aged between 11 and 13.

He had pleaded not guilty to 56 counts of indecent assault of another boy between December 1980 and December 1985 but was convicted by a jury.

Yesterday, Judge Patricia Ryan imposed a nine-year sentence with four suspended for the abuse of the boy that began in 1980. She also imposed an 11-year sentence with two suspended for the later abuse.

These will run consecutive to each other but alongside his existing sentence, meaning an effective prison term of 14 years from yesterday. The judge took the unusual move of imposing consecutive terms because of the "very, very, very serious" nature of the offending.

Cooke has 30 previous convictions, 29 of which are for non-sexual offences.

Vulnerable

The judge noted that the abuse of the boy in the 1980s began when the nine-year-old victim was in a vulnerable state after a family tragedy. It involved molesting and raping him.

The child began suffering from nightmares because of the abuse, including one so frightening that he tried to jump out of a window in his sleep. Cooke finally stopped abusing him when the boy got strong enough to fight him off.

A garda told Roisin Lacey, prosecuting, that the victim contacted gardai in 2014 and Cooke was arrested in July of that year. He denied all the allegations and told gardai the victim was "telling lies, a pack of filthy Jesus lies".

In a victim impact statement, the victim described feeling ashamed and filthy as a child. He said the abuse defined his childhood but he was determined not to let it define his life.

"It will always stay with me. I have survived, lived, to get justice for that vulnerable little boy," he said.

In 2000, Cooke began abusing another child he had access to who was in fifth class.

The abuse ended in 2003, when the boy fashioned a lock for his door to keep Cooke out.

The victim did not report the abuse until last year. "He wanted to tell someone but was afraid of [Cooke]," Ms Lacey said. Cooke initially denied the allegations but he now wished to apologise to his victim, defence barrister Tara Burns said.

Ms Burns said Cooke was supported by family members, including a wife and four-year-old child. He was in poor health and had a stroke recently.

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