Man Confesses To Abusing Boys

A man who used his position as a youth club leader to sexually abuse two young brothers walked into a police station to confess, a court heard yesterday.

The Co Armagh man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had just finished serving a four-year sentence for indecently assaulting his stepsons when he voluntarily attended a PSNI station and admitted a litany of offences against the brothers.

After hearing evidence about the abuse against the boys, who were aged around nine when the incidents began, Judge Burgess ordered the defendant to serve 12 months in jail with an additional 12 months of post-custodial supervision.

Crown prosecutor Fiona O’Kane told Belfast Crown Court that, in May 2005, the 35-year-old Craigavon man walked into a police station as he wanted to ” put his past behind him”.

He told police the abuse against the two brothers – carried out from July 1995 to July 1999 – occurred at his house near the Belfast youth club where he was a leader at the time.

The accused admitted befriending the brothers and sexually abusing both of them. He used to give the youngsters money and sweets after abusing them, telling one of them no one would believe him if he said anything as he was a club leader. He admitted to eight counts of indecently assaulting the brothers and to eight charges of gross indecency, and pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted buggery.

The accused also admitted a charge of taking an indecent video of a third boy.

The prosecutor said that, while one victim said the abuse left him frightened to go out at night in case he “bumped into” the accused, the other victim said “it scared him if he saw anyone that looked like the defendant”.

Describing the case against his client as “wholly exceptional”, defence barrister Charles MacCreanor pointed out the victims had never made any complaints and the abuse only came to light as a result of his confession. He added that his client was “remorseful and regrets his past”, and that he wanted to “face up to everything”.

Judge Burgess said the defendant’s actions were “terrible” and comdemned the accused’s breach of his position of trust, the age of the victims and the regularity of the abuse.

The judge said: “I am quite satisfied the defendant groomed these children, he targeted these children and engineered these arrangements.” The Judge acknowledged the case against the accused was “highly exceptional” as the abuse only emerged as a result of his confession.

The accused, already on the sex offenders register for life after abusing his stepsons, was also banned from working with children again.