Carer who fondled vulnerable residents' breasts avoids prison
A care worker who filmed two sexual assaults on vulnerable residents in a home has been handed a suspended prison sentence of 18 months.
Peter Hilliard (54) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of sexual assault between February 2013 and June last year at Bloomfield nursing home in Stocking Lane, Rathfarnham, Dublin.
The offences came to light in June 2016, when a colleague of Hilliard's saw a video on his Facebook page of him sexually assaulting an elderly resident.
Hilliard had recorded himself touching the woman's breasts before putting the video up on the social media site, Garda Shane Whelan told the court. This video shows a male in the room at the same time of the assault.
The staff member alerted gardai, who went to Hilliard's house at Bolbrook Grove, Tallaght, Dublin, and seized laptops and mobile phones. During a digital search of the equipment, investigators came across a second video, filmed some time after February 2013.
In it, Hilliard carried out a similar attack on another resident of the care home.
Gda Whelan told Dean Kelly, prosecuting, that Hilliard has no previous convictions. After his arrest he told gardai he felt bad about his actions, saying he "thought about killing myself".
The court heard that, at the time of the assaults, Hilliard was suffering from sleep deprivation as a result of working so many hours.
He told gardai that the mobile phone footage of the later assault was uploaded accidentally to Facebook because he didn't know how to operate his phone.
Kieran Kelly, defending, told the court that Hilliard was sorry for his actions and that his family stood by him.
Two victim impact statements were handed into the court but were not read out.
Judge Terence O'Sullivan noted that Hilliard had lost his job because of the offences and was now unemployable in the health sector.
He also considered that Hilliard had sought counselling since the assaults came to light.
The judge suspended the sentence on condition that he keeps the peace and attends a weekly therapy group.
He also ordered Hilliard to be supervised by the Probation Service for a period of 18 months.