By Declan Brennan
A man who engaged in a sexual relationship with an underage girl for over a year has been jailed for four years.
Raymond Valentine (60) pleaded guilty last July to three counts of sexual exploitation of a child at a number of locations in Dublin on dates between June 2012 and June 2013.
The 17-year-old girl was in care at the time, was living a chaotic life and was extremely vulnerable, Detective Sergeant Peter Woods told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Eoghan Cole BL, prosecuting, told the court that the victim, now an adult, was waiving her anonymity so that Valentine of Belarmine, Stepaside, Dublin could be identified.
Handing down a sentence of four years on Monday, Judge Martin Nolan said Valentine “should have known better”.
“It was reprehensible what you did.
“You engaged in a full sexual relationship with this underage girl for almost a year,” he told Valentine.
He noted that Valentine had received “a savage beating” from people linked to the victim.
The court heard that in August 2015, the victim’s then partner left Valentine with life threatening injuries after kicking him repeatedly to the head.
The victim had invited Valentine to meet her at her home in Dublin where he was then attacked by the woman’s partner.
This man later pleaded guilty to assaulting Valentine and is due for sentence next month.
The victim also pleaded guilty to taking part in the attack and received a fully suspended sentence.
After Valentine was sentenced, a female supporter of Valentine started shouting at the victim, calling her names and telling her: “You’ll get your comeuppance”.
Both women left the court room shouting at each other.
In her victim impact statement, the complainant told the court that Valentine’s actions had shattered her and left her with no self-confidence.
The court heard that the victim was known to Valentine’s daughter and was aged 17 when he first exploited her.
He gave her alcohol, sexually assaulted her and tried to have penetrative sex with her.
Valentine then began meeting her regularly and having a “full sexual relationship” with the child, Mr Cole outlined to the court.
He said the victim would abscond from her care placements and stay with Valentine for days.
Social workers met Valentine in 2013 and asked him not to have her stay.
Valentine denied all wrongdoing and continued to meet her, despite a court order being put in place.
The victim later told gardaí that she found things very difficult and felt under pressure to lie about who she was meeting. She began to attempt suicide by overdosing and cutting herself.
Feargal Kavanagh SC, defending, said that his client knows what he did was wrong and was remorseful. He said he was abusing alcohol at the time.
He said his client “accepted fully the complainant was not in a position to consent” but submitted that “it may be of significance to the court” that the relationship continued when the victim “was of age”.
The court heard that Valentine has three other criminal convictions, including convictions for theft and drunk driving.
Mr Kavanagh told the court that his client “got an awful hiding” and said that the complainant lured him to her home in advance of this assault.
Valentine’s guilty plea was entered on the date a jury was due to be sworn in for his trial.
Counsel said his client “pleaded guilty when all the facts were available”.
He said that the complainant had difficulties stabilising in a foster care environment.
Dt Sgt Woods said she was an extremely vulnerable person and was particularly vulnerable at the time of the exploitation.
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