November 12, 2002
Farmer guilty of sexual assaults on boy

by Eugene Hogan in The Irish Independent

A 68-YEAR-OLD farmer who told a court his cattle meant more to him than the the boy he buggered and indecently assaulted over a seven-year period was yesterday found guilty by a jury.

Joseph Nugent, from Dromellihy, Cree, Co Clare, sat impassively at the Circuit Court in Kilrush as a guilty verdict was read out on 24 counts of buggery and 24 of indecent assault committed on the now 46-year-old complainant.

Afterwards, his victim and neighbour Aidan Hastings said he was overjoyed by the decision and it would finally make the many people from his parish who doubted his story believe him.

"A lot of people back home believed him, and some not so nice things were said about me, but this is vindication. I lit a candle and prayed for those people who didn't believe me and just hope now that they do," he said.

"I am thrilled with the verdict as it lifts a huge weight from my shoulders. He ruined my life and nothing can ever undo what he did to me, but this is some consolation at least."

Nugent was taken into custody yesterday evening but will not be sentenced until November 26, following a request from Judge Brian McMahon that a victim impact report be prepared.

The defendant denied the allegations throughout the five-day trial, and when State prosecutor Stephen Coughlan put to him at one stage that he was effectively accusing the gardai of a conspiracy, the defendant responded: "They are well able to lie you see that up in the North."

The charges span a seven-year period and began in 1964 when Mr Hastings was seven years old. The first incident occurred as he was walking home from school and met Nugent, who asked him to help with a gate. He left down his schoolbag and walked into the field ahead of the farmer, but was tripped from behind. The farmer pulled down the boy's pants and assaulted him.

The abuse was perpetrated two or three times a week for seven years. The complainant was attacked as he worked in the fields, in the defendant's hay barn and on occasions when the accused would get him to sit on his lap.

In April 2000 when he confronted Nugent about the abuse, the accused replied: "What about it? Aren't the priests and all doing it?"

Posted by Colm at November 12, 2002 11:43 AM
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