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Music teacher gets two years for pupil sex assault

A FORMER music teacher has been jailed for sexually assaulting a pupil at his home 25 years ago.

Breffni O'Rourke (64), who is now living in Ardglass Estate, Ferrybank, Waterford, was convicted by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury last February on one charge of indecent assault of the girl in June 1987.

He was sentenced to two years' jail with one year suspended. He had pleaded not guilty to the offence.

The woman had stated in a victim impact report, heard at the sentence hearing last month, that O'Rourke's "evil act" left her feeling "dirty and disgusting" and accused him of abusing his position of trust.

Judge Desmond Hogan said he was "deeply cognisant of the breach of trust that surrounds this case" but added that the law requires that he take into account the "lapse of time" between when the offence occurred and when it was dealt with by the court.

Parents

"The injured party was very young at the time and to a certain extent he had control over her as her music teacher.

"The trust that had been imposed on him by her parents was broken," the judge said before he suspended the last 12 months of the term.

Sergeant Karen Curley told Karen O'Connor, prosecuting, the victim was aged nine or 10 at the time of the offence.

O'Rourke had taught Irish music to the victim.

The court was told that O'Rourke was 39 at the time of the offence, which took place at his home in Co Meath.

O'Rourke took the girl into his bedroom, pulled her across the bed, pulled her trousers down and abused her by pressing his penis against her vagina, the court heard. O'Rourke -- a married man -- initially denied any wrongdoing.

The woman said she found it difficult to put into words what she went through.

She felt "alone and lonely" as she couldn't tell her family what happened..

It had a "crippling effect" on her self-esteem and she felt "dirty and disgusting".

"I spent long periods wishing I was dead. I contemplated suicide and attempted it once."

hnews@herald.ie