July 2005

Trainee teacher gets five years for sex assaults

A TRAINEE teacher was jailed for five years yesterday for buggering and sexually assaulting two 12-year-old boys.

Daniel ‘Donie’ Connolly (24) of Glengarriff, Co Cork, had pleaded guilty last month to the offences before Judge Sean O Donnabhain in Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Connolly – who had taken a child studies course – admitted that, between January 1, 2002 and January 1, 2003, at a time unknown, he buggered a 12-year-old boy in a location which cannot be specified for legal reasons and also admitted sexually assaulting another 12-year-old between January, 2002 and December, 2003.

The Garda investigation was aided by an intelligence report from the Australian police. The defendant had spent some time in Australia.

Yesterday, Judge O Donnabhain heard from psychiatrist Dr David Dunne, that Connolly suffers from personality problems and disordered thinking with his sexual orientation geared towards young, adolescent boys.

Dr Dunne said that despite the defendant being very intelligent, he was extremely immature and, in fact, was virtually an adolescent himself.

“He created a kind of fantasy world for himself,” said Dr Dunne.

Connolly was sexually fixated with young boys and wrote a letter to Judge O Donnbhain trying to explain his sexual orientation.

The judge said he found the letter “more than a smidgin arrogant” but he acknowledged from Dr Dunne that the defendant was suffering from “disordered thinking”.

The court heard that while Connolly is still sexually aroused by boys, he is now interested in an older age group.

But Dr Dunne acknowledged that, even with treatment, there could be no guarantee that Connolly would not in the future continue to have such thoughts regarding boys.

Judge O Donnbhain said that he took a very serious view of the offences which had a terrible impact on the two victims. Connolly had gained access to them through the trust of their families and what was done to them was totally unacceptable.

The judge acknowledged his guilty plea had saved the boys from giving evidence. He said that while he had to impose a custodial sentence, he wanted to structure it so that Connolly would be encouraged to enter rehabilitation.

He jailed him for five years but agreed to suspend the final two years if he successfully participated in a sexual offenders programme at Arbour Hill.

The judge also directed that Connolly would have to co-operate with the Probation and Welfare Service and directed that he be listed on the Sex Offenders Registers. He refused leave to appeal.