Childminder who sexually abused boy (7) under his care is sentenced to five years in prison

A childminder who repeatedly sexually abused a seven-year-old boy in his care has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Artin Begley, 55, was found guilty by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury on nine counts of sexual assault and 12 counts of inviting sexual contact with a child between December 2019 and April 2020 in two Dublin locations.

The verdicts came after a six-day trial in June this year.

Begley, of Larkfield Grove, Kimmage, Dublin, is rejecting the jury’s verdicts and intends to appeal the convictions, defense counsel told the court.

The child’s parents, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, would have preferred Begley’s attribution, the court heard.

Judge Elma Sheahan said the offenses were “a most egregious breach of trust.”

She said Begley held a position of trust and authority in the life of the boy and his family, who employed and depended on him.

She said immense trauma was inflicted on the child and his family.

She noted the family’s concerns that there would be more impact on the child in the future as they had a better understanding of what happened.

She noted that Begley, who was caring for his late mother, did not accept the verdict but respected it.

She emphasized aggravating factors such as the seriousness of the offence, the breach of trust, the age difference, the significant impact of the abuse on the child and the vulnerability of the child given the child’s age and the location and circumstances of the offence.

She took mitigating account of his past good character, caring for his mother and the effect of imprisonment on a person his age who had not previously been in prison that he was now placed on the sex offenders’ register. She also noted his cooperation and that he did not extend the process.

They imposed concurrent prison sentences totaling five years.

She acknowledged the need to incentivize rehabilitation, but said she could not find any evidence base on which any of the sentences could be stayed if the jury verdict is not accepted. She ordered two years of post-release supervision.

Vincent Heneghan SC, Prosecutor, told the hearing that Begley was employed by the parents after they placed an advert on an Irish childcare website. He was the only application they received.

Begley told the parents he did a Garda check, although he never showed them any evidence of it and provided them with a number of references. He started working with the family in December 2019, taking care of the seven-year-old boy and his younger sibling in their home.

When the country went into Covid lockdown in March 2020, arrangements changed and Begley instead began looking after the children in his own home while the parents worked from home.

In April 2020, the boy confided in his mother a video Begley showed him of a boy being beaten with a belt.

The boy’s parents were extremely concerned and immediately terminated Begley’s employment.

The following month, the boy’s mother discovered that he was engaging in sexualized behavior and he told her Begley showed him how to do it.

The boy’s parents contacted Gardaí and the boy was interviewed by the specialist Gardaí shortly thereafter.

In the interview played to the jury, the boy outlined how Begley had sexually abused him.

In victim impact statements read by an attorney in court, the boy’s parents described how they have struggled with anxiety and depression since discovering the abuse their child had suffered at the hands of Begley.

“The fact that [my son] his innocence destroyed by a man seeking his own sexual gratification will stay with me for the rest of my life,” the boy’s father said, adding that he felt “regret and remorse for hiring this man.”

Garnet Orange SC, defending, said his client “respects” the jury’s verdicts but does not accept them and intends to appeal.

He asked Judge Sheahan to consider a number of mitigating factors, including Begley’s past good character and his full association with Gardaí. Childminder who sexually abused boy (7) under his care is sentenced to five years in prison

Fry Electronics Team

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