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Jail term for 79 year old who breached Sexual Offences Prevention order
A CONVICTED sex offender is appealing against a four-month jail term imposed after he failed to inform the relevant authorities about an overnight stay in Donegal this summer.
John James O’Rourke (79), of Derrylin Road, Lisnaskea, was charged with breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) by failing to obtain the approval of his designated risk manager to stay in a caravan in Bundoran overnight between June 3 and 5, 2017.
O’Rourke had entered a guilty plea at an earlier appearance before Fermanagh Magistrates Court and a pre-sentence report was prepared in the case.
At his sentencing on Monday, the court heard that the defendant had been made the subject of a 20-year SOPO on November 30, 2012.
After Gardai informed the PSNI that O’Rourke had stayed at a relative’s caravan across the border this summer, officers called to the suspect’s address in Lisnaskea.
He admitted staying at the caravan on the dates in question and also failing to inform the authorities, but claimed that he had “forgotten” about the SOPO.
Defending solicitor, Tony McGettigan, told the court that, prior to the incident, his client’s wife, who suffered from dementia, had to be taken into care, while his son had died in “tragic circumstances” last December.
The solicitor said that, given the “distress” he had recently experienced, O’Rourke had forgotten about the restriction.
However, district judge, Nigel Broderick, observed that this was the defendant’s second breach of the SOPO and he found it difficult to believe that O’Rourke “simply forgot”.
Mr. Broderick imposed a four-month prison sentence and ordered the defendant to pay a £25 offender levy.
O’Rourke was later released on his own bail of £500, pending an appeal against the jail term.
Jail for pensioner who abused children over 40-year period
A CHILD molester from Enniskillen who targeted children, for over four decades, acknowledged exposing himself and sexually assaulting his victims with the comment, “It’s not like anyone was raped or murdered.”
John James O’Rourke, of Hillview Park, who is 74-years-old, also described the older offences as being, “past their sell by date”.
He was sentenced to three years in prison when he appeared before Dungannnon Crown Court.
However, he will serve half of the sentence in custody before being released to spend 18 months on licence.
He was also ordered to participate in a Sex Offenders Programme.
The pensioner was put on the Sex Offenders Register for 20 years, which Judge Geoffrey Miller QC said would in effect be the rest of O’Rourke’s life.
O’Rourke reign of terrorising children was finally stopped in September last year when a young schoolgirl reported that he kissed and touched her inappropriately and exposed himself while attempting to pull her hand towards him.
Three other victims made allegations dating back to 1969 when he was 31-years-old.
On that occasion he also exposed himself to a girl of eight and incited her to touch him. The third child was between five and nine years of age when O’Rourke, in his forties, carried out an act of gross indecency towards her.
He also molested a 17-year-old girl and made sexual remarks to her on a number of occasions when he was in his mid-fifties, around 1996-1997.
The pensioner denied all the charges agaisnt him when he was originally arraigned at Omagh Crown Court in May this year.
It was not until a jury was sworn in and the case ready to go to trial that he applied to be re-arraigned and admitted all charges.
Judge Miller described O’Rourke’s attitude to his offending as “alarming”.
The judge said, “He showed no sign of any contrition and indeed he affected an attitude so far as the older offences were concerned whereby he feigned a lack of memory about the incident”.
Regarding the preparation of the pre-sentence report, the Judge added, “This court views his observation that ‘it’s not like anyone was raped or murdered’ and that the older offences were ‘past their sell by date’ as being indicative of an attitude of denial and lack of appreciation of the seriousness of the offending, that gives cause for considerable concern and disquiet.”
The judge also stated that he read impact reports from three of O’Rourke’s victims and, while not disclosing their contents, was “satisfied to a greater or lesser degree they suffered mental trauma as a direct result of the defendant’s actions.”
Judge Miller added that he hoped the conclusion of the court proceedings “will bring some measure of closure to each complainant.”
In his judgement, he outlined “worrying aspects” arising from the pensioner’s offending.
These, he said, included the protracted period of the offending which was in excess of 40 years which extended over several different victims.
He added that the defendant is a “real source of risk”.
However he also took into account O’Rourke’s age, his willingness to work with relevant agencies and that he will be kept under supervision after his release, when determining the sentence.
Judge Miller determined that the offences taken as individual acts fall at the “lower end of sexual offending” as the girls were touched over their clothing.
However, he added, “This should not be taken as in any sense diminishing the effect and impact upon the defendant’s victims…”
O’Rourke received a number of six month and 18 month sentences as well as the three year term, with 18 months on licence.
As the sentences were imposed to run concurrently, he will be due for release after 18 months