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Convicted sex offender in attack on boys

A man has been given a five-year sentence for sexually assaulting two 11-year-old boys while he was on the sex offenders' register for a similar offence.

Eric Thomas (35), of Blackhall Street, Dublin 7, pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of the two boys on August 23, 2007.

Judge Desmond Hogan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court suspended the last year of the sentence and ordered that Thomas be put on the sex offenders' register for 10 years.

He was previously put on the register from August 2003 to December 2009 after the sexual assault of a nine-year-old boy.

The court heard Thomas has 11 previous convictions in total.

In 2000 he was convicted for sexually assaulting a boy and seriously assaulting another person for which he was jailed for a total of five years in consecutive sentences.

Judge Hogan also imposed a condition that Thomas undergo a sex offenders' treatment programme on his release.

The judge said he further required Thomas be supervised by the probation service "for his own benefit and the benefit of society".





forest

Detective Garda Stephen Hayes told the court that the day before the incident the boys met the man in a Dublin park.

Thomas asked one of the boys to go fishing with him but the boy said he could not but would the following day.

The next day the boys said they met the man and got into his white van and drove to Wicklow before ending up in a forest where Thomas asked the boys "to play a game of dares".

He kissed both boys on the lips and face and masturbated himself as he hugged one of them, the court heard.

One of the boy's mothers became worried about her son's whereabouts and reported it to the gardai who stopped his van in Dublin.

Thomas was arrested on August 25, 2007, and, when interviewed, admitted to meeting the boys in the park and to bringing them to Burger King.

John Fitzgerald, defending, said Thomas suffered from depression and had recently tried to self-harm.

His defence counsel claimed Thomas had been a victim of sexual abuse as a child.

Mr Fitzgerald added that his client wanted to apologise to the two boys who were present in court.

hnews@herald.ie