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Friday 23 February 2018

15 months' jail for man's sex assault of stepdaughter

John Doherty was jailed
John Doherty was jailed

A man who sexually assaulted his stepdaughter 20 years ago in a "huge breach of trust" has been jailed for 15 months.

John Doherty's victim, who was 12 when the offences began, told the court she would "always live with a sense of shame" as a result of his actions.

Doherty (55) of Patrician Villas, Stillorgan, Co Dublin pleaded guilty to two counts of sexually assaulting his stepdaughter between January 1996-April 1998 at their home in Stillorgan, when she was aged 12 and 13.

Doherty's step-daughter, now 35, waived her right to anonymity so her abuser could be named, the court heard.

Doherty had previously failed in his high court bid to stay proceedings, claiming "blameworthy delay" by gardai in prosecuting the case.

Incompetence

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told the garda who handled the original complaint in 1998 took sick leave, retired and later died, leaving the case unassigned until recent years.

Sentencing Doherty yesterday, Judge Martin Nolan noted the matter had taken a long time to come to court due to "incompetence".

"I've no doubt the victim in this case has endured difficult times as a result of the misbehaviour of Mr Doherty," the judge said.

He noted Doherty had taken steps to rehabilitate himself.

"But he sexually abused a child," Judge Nolan said. "He sexually abused a child in his care and that was a huge breach of trust."

The maximum sentence for sexual assault at the time of the offence was five years.

In a statement the woman said the abuse she suffered from her step-father had taken away her childhood, her family and her education.

"I loved and trusted him unconditionally and he betrayed me," she said.

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