May 2005

Former mayor (85) jailed for abusing five young girls

Nine-year sentence for sex attacker who claimed one victim ‘brought it on herself’

A 85-YEAR-OLD former mayor of a Co Galway town, who raped and sexually assaulted five young girls when they were aged between seven and 16, has been jailed for nine years by the Central Criminal Court.

John, aka Jack Fahy, of Oughterard, pleaded guilty to two sample charges of rape and seven of sexual assault.

The offences were committed on dates from 1981 to 1992.

Fahy told gardai that one of the girls “brought it on herself” but also he said he was truly sorry to his “wandering hands”.

Mr Justice Paul Carney said a number of the victims told him in their statements that they were in fear that Fahy would be given special treatment because of his age but they said at the time of his offences he gave their young age no consideration.

The judge said the age of the accused would not inhibit him from imposing a lengthy prison sentence but he would take intoaccount his early guilty plea and his bad state of health.

He sentenced Fahy to nine years for the two rape charges and four years for the remaining sexual assault charges, which are to run concurrent to each other.

The last four years of the sentence were suspended.

Superintendent Michael Curley, of Salthill station, told Patrick McCarthy SC, prosecuting, when evidence was first heard on May 9 that a 31-year-old woman reported incidences of indecent assault on her by Fahy to gardai on November 12, 2001.

She said when she was between the ages of 14 and 15. Fahy put his hand inside her t-shirt and fondled her breast, while she was sitting on a chair in his home.

He then told her to come into his bedroom but she refused and fled the house.

Supt Curley told the court that her sister said that Fahy also sexually abused her when she was between 10 and 13.

Fahy kissed her and tried to put his tongue in her mouth before he put his hands down her trousers.

Fahy also sexually abused and raped another girl from when she was as young as seven. She said that he was a frequent visitor to her home and that he raped her on two occasions.

She recalled incidents of sexual abuse in her family home, his home and his car for a period between March 30, 1981 to a date unknown in 1988.

A fourth victim said that Fahy attempted to rape her and sexually assaulted her on a number of occasions between 1984 and 1986 when she was between 10 and 12.

Supt Curley said that Fahy claimed that this girl initiated the abuse and brought it upon herself.

A fifth girl said Fahy sexually assaulted her on two occasions between June 6, 1987 and August 31, 1992. She was then aged between seven and 13.

Supt Curley told Mr McCarthy that Fahy had a huge interest in nature and he would often take these children on nature trails or invite them into his house to see his collection of nature videos.

Fahy would regularly give the children 20 pence after he abused them and sometimes he gave them sweets.

Supt Curley told the court that Fahy was a single man. He was a highly respected man in the community before these offences came to light and was mayor of Oughterard for a short time.

A warrant was obtained for Fahy’s arrest on December 6, 2001 and he made a number of admissions during the questioning that followed.

Conor Bowman, defending, said his client had never formed a mature relationship with a woman and Fahy was unreservedly apologetic for this “utterly inexcusable behaviour”.