A former scout leader who sexually assaulted a boy scout more than 20 years ago, has been sentenced to three years in prison, with the final eighteen months suspended.

Sentencing in the case of 42-year-old John O'Leary of Clontarf Estate, Blackrock in Cork City was adjourned at Cork Circuit Criminal Court last November to allow O'Leary pay further compensation to his victim.

Last November Cork Circuit Criminal court was told how O'Leary, a father of two, had forced an 11-year-old boy into oral sex on scout camps in 1979 after initially abusing him while ghost stories were being told.

The victim, who wanted the accused to be named, broke down in the box at the time as he recalled telling his mother what had happened.

He said he had gone through hell since he was sexually assaulted, suffering depression and having relationship problems. He said the day in court was a long time coming, and added that because of the abuse, he had been permanently stained for life.

'So, so sorry' - defendant

The court was told today that friends of the defendant had raised €30,000 in compensation for the victim which had been paid.

The defendant told the court that he had lost everything except his family and that he was 'so, so sorry' for what he had done to his victim 24 years ago. He described himself as an immature, stupid 19-year-old at the time.

He said he left the boy scouts in 1990 to become more involved in his local GAA club, but had stepped down from club activities when the case came to light.

Very serious case - judge

Describing the case as a very serious one, Judge Patrick Moran said he accepted the defendant had pleaded guilty and that there was no likelihood of him re-offending.

He noted that compensation had been paid to the victim but he recalled the victim saying that he was not interested in compensation.

The judge said in his view, compensation in a criminal case was a token of remorse, not a way of a court refusing to impose a criminal sentence.

He sentenced O'Leary to three years in prison on all five counts of sexual assault, to run concurrently and suspended the final 18 months. He granted him leave to appeal.