Playschool monster: Dublin teacher jailed for sex assault on special needs girl (4)
A four-year-old girl with special needs who was sexually assaulted by a Montessori teacher in a Dublin playschool "has suffered an irreversible loss of innocence".
The former Montessori trainee teacher Kevin Muldoon (32), with an address at Rockwinds, Church Road, Killiney in South County Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexually assaulting the little girl and production of child pornography on May 8, 2014.
The girl was in his care in a playschool at the time of the assault, the court was told. Muldoon was jailed for five years.
The victim has night terrors following the attack.
The court heard that after the attack the child was afraid to go back to the specialised playschool. She then told her mother Muldoon had taken photos of her backside and "pants".
Gardai later discovered 46 images of the girl sent from the man's phone to his email address, including images of her private parts and of him with his finger in her mouth.
Muldoon further pleaded guilty to possessing 688 images of child pornography material found on hard drives and computers during a raid on his premises, his family home and the playschool on May 15, 2014. He has no previous convictions.
Detective Garda Donal O'Connell told prosecuting counsel, Ann-Marie Lawlor, that analysis of the photos showed they had been taken over a quarter-of-an-hour, with between five and ten minute interludes between each cluster.
Muldoon also revealed to gardai that he had other images of child porn on a file on his computer named 'snakes', so his girlfriend wouldn't find them.
Ms Lawlor told the court that the child's parents did not have an issue with Muldoon being named in the media, as long as the victim was not identified.
Judge Melanie Greally said Muldoon's crime represented a gross breach of trust and added, instead of assisting the girl - who "already started out life at a disadvantage" - that "he compounded her difficulty".
"She has suffered an irreversible loss of innocence at the age of four," the judge said, before adding that the child's "extreme youth was the single greatest aggravating factor in the case".
Judge Greally accepted that Muldoon had expressed remorse, had social and educational difficulties and had neither shared nor paid for the pornographic material.
She sentenced Muldoon to five years in prison and ordered that he engage in treatment while there. The judge also imposed five years of post-release supervision, and said that Muldoon must refrain from taking any position that will bring him into contact with children.
The little girl's parents, in a victim impact statement read out in court, expressed how the man's "despicable and disgusting behaviour" would impact them as a family for the rest of their lives. They said their daughter had a fear of unfamiliar males and "as a four-year-old girl she was stripped of her dignity and innocence".
They said the incidents had been imprinted on her mind and that she struggled socially, and also had night terrors. They added they were grateful that their little girl had been able to speak up about the abuse.
Ms Lawlor confirmed to the court that there were no other allegations against the man from other parties.
Det Gda O'Connell told Ms Lawlor that the child's parents contacted gardai after the little girl told them about the pictures. Two days later, a garda search team raided three addresses and found hundreds of child pornographic images.
Det Gda O'Connell said his team got another warrant to access the man's email addresses, where photos of the girl were later found and analysed.
The man later attended a voluntary garda interview and admitted he had taken up to 20 pictures of the girl. He described how she moved her clothes out of the way on his request while he took the photos.
Det Gda O'Connell agreed with Caroline Biggs SC, defending, that her client's plea had spared the child having to be cross-examined in a trial.
He further agreed the pornography found and produced had been for the man's own use and that there was no evidence of paying for or distributing it.
The detective agreed the man had been engaging in therapy since his arrest.
Ms Biggs submitted to Judge Greally that her client had difficulty in school, and with forming friendships growing up. She said Muldoon had also expressed remorse, and that he was a "vulnerable man" who had no friends since the incident, and needed structure in his life.
She asked the judge to take into consideration that the sexual assault would not have been at the highest end of the scale, and the majority of the pornography would have been categorised at the lowest end.