Belfast Telegraph

Friday 21 November 2014

Soldier guilty of sex assaults on 13-year-old girl

A serving Irish soldier from Donegal has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.

Kenneth McDonald (34) was found guilty on four out of six counts of sexually assaulting the schoolgirl on dates between June and November 2003.

Crucial to the trial was a diary kept by the troubled teen in which she recorded her sexual encounters throughout 2003.

It took the jury to return the unanimous verdict after a gruelling six-day trial at Donegal Circuit Court.

They found the soldier, from Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, not guilty of two charges.

McDonald from Ernedale Heights in the town but based at Finner Camp, was remanded in custody pending sentencing.

The soldier sat barely flinching as the verdicts were delivered shortly after 4pm. His wife Margaret fled from the courtroom sobbing and repeating “we got married in 2004” to family and friends who gathered outside.

The victim, now aged 19, and supported by a social worker, fought back tears and smiled at jurors as they left the courtroom.

McDonald, who did not give evidence, had consistently denied having sex with the 13-year-old. He told gardai he only knew her “to chat to” on the street.

But damning phone records, produced in court, showed dozens of text messages and calls between their two phones during the period in question.

McDonald's name was placed on the Sex Offenders Register and he will be sentenced on June 29.

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