Writer sentenced over sexual assault

Tuesday 06 October 2009 13.10
Desmond Hogan - Described as a 'recluse'
Desmond Hogan - Described as a 'recluse'

The writer Desmond Hogan has been given a suspended two year sentence for the aggravated sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy in Co Kerry three years ago.

The judge called the case ‘complex’ and said society would be better served if Hogan continued treatment rather than be sent to jail.

The 58-year-old, who is originally from Galway, pleaded guilty in July 2008 to sexually assaulting the boy at Hogan's home at Back Lane, East End, Ballybunion on 11 November 2006.

Sentencing in the case was adjourned at least five times to allow Hogan undergo assessment and treatment at the Granada Institute in Dublin.

Described as a recluse, Hogan had been living in Ballybunion for six years at the time of the offence.

The court was told that Hogan befriended a number of boys in the town and on the day of the offence he invited three of them back to his house where he was showing them sketches and etchings and various photographs of naked people.

When two of the teenagers left to go to a local shop Hogan sexually assaulted the other boy.

The boy's mother said in a victim impact statement to the court that her family was completely devastated and 'totally disgusted' by what happened.

She said her son changed from a 'happy lad' to someone who is constantly moody and totally frustrated with himself.

At the same court sitting a statement from writer Colm Toibin was read out in court in which he described Hogan as a writer of immense power and importance who dealt with human isolation.

In handing down the two year suspended sentence the judge described the case as a very serious matter involving a young boy.

He said what Hogan did was 'completely unacceptable'.

The judge said Hogan is a person with a complex make-up but if he continues his underlying treatment society is better served than by imposing a prison sentence.

He attached four conditions to the suspension, which include that he is never to be in unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18, that he does not stay in Co Kerry and that he co-operates with the Probation Services.