Former Dublin bus driver is jailed for eight years for sexual abuse of five girls and harassment of a nine year old boy

Padraig Conlon 25 May 2023

By Sonya McLean

A former Dublin bus driver who sexually assaulted five young girls after persistently grooming them and later harassed a nine-year-old boy and requested naked photographs from him, has been jailed for eight years.

Dermot Carr (51) of Royal Canal Park, Dublin 15, went on to harass the nine-year-old boy, giving him alcohol and cannabis and asking him to engage in sexual activity.

He initially pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to a charge of harassment of a child and sending sexually explicit images to a child on dates between January 2013 and July 2018. He elected for trial in relation to the sexual assault allegations against five young girls.

Carr then later pleaded guilty to two charges of sexually assaulting one girl, two charges of sexually assaulting a second girl, one charge of sexually assaulting a third girl, two charges of sexually assaulting a fourth girl and one charge of sexually assaulting a fifth girl, on dates between January 2001 and May 2006.

The court heard that Carr was in his late twenties and early thirties when he sexually assaulted the five girls, who were as young as 11 at the time.

He met each of the girls through his own niece, secured their mobile numbers and engaged in text conversations with them which were both persistent and sexually suggestive.

He also regularly bought the girls phone credit in order to facilitate the text conversations. He also supplied some of the girls with drugs and alcohol in his own apartment.

Most of the sexual assaults occurred in his car when he was alone with the girls and involved forcing them to masturbate him, touching their vagina, both inside and outside their clothes, touching their breasts and kissing them.

In relation to the fifth girl, Carr tried to have sex with her as she lay on a bed in his apartment because she was tired. She was 17 years’ old at the time and had been out celebrating her graduation after Carr brought her and her friends to a nightclub. She managed to push the man off her to bring the assault to an end.

The man got to know the young boy through his former partner and began communicating with the child over text when the boy was nine years old.

The accused was 41 years’ old at the time.

He initially began telling the child the kind of sexual activity he would like to engage in with the boy’s mother but later sent the boy photographs of his own genitals and requested the child to do the same.

Carr brought the child to his apartment and allowed him to smoke cannabis and drink alcohol, while repeatedly asking the child to engage in sexual activity with him.

The child never engaged in that activity with the man but did send him photographs of his genitals as requested.

Mr Justice David Keane commended the “courage and tenacity of each of the victims” and acknowledged that it could not have been easy for them to disclose the abuse.

He said they had “shown impressive resilience” and wished each of them well in terms of their recovery.

The judge said this was “a pattern of offending over many years” while Carr was in his late 20s until his mid-40s.

He described it as “deliberate and persistent grooming” by a mature adult on impressionable and confused teenagers.

Mr Justice Keane said it represented a significant abuse of trust as Carr knew the families of each of the victims.

He took into account his admissions of guilt “at a reasonably early stage” and the fact that this spared the victims “additional trauma” of having to give evidence at trial.

He ordered the defendant pay a sum of €10,000 in compensation over to the first female victim.

The judge noted that Carr has support from his family who, while they don’t condone his behaviour, have indicated they are prepared to support him upon his ultimate release from prison.

He further noted a report from the Probation Service put Carr at a “medium risk of re-offending”.

Mr Justice Keane imposed various headline sentences ranging from 16 months to eight years but having taken into account the mitigating factors he reduced these to 12 months to six years.

The judge said he needed to consider consecutive sentencing, given the fact that the man’s behaviour “directly affected six lives” and ordered that the sentences relating to the sexual assault of the five girls be imposed consecutively to the sentence in relation to the nine-year-old boy.

Carr was then handed consecutive sentences totalling nine years.

Mr Justice Keane suspended the final year of this term on strict conditions including that the man engage with the Probation Service for three years upon his ultimate release from prison and undergo any counselling they deem appropriate.

Detective Garda Jean McDonnell told Dean Kelly SC, prosecuting, that the first victim was 16 years younger than Carr when he first began texting her, having got her phone number because she was friend of his niece.

Two of the sexual assault offences relate to this girl and involved her being forced to masturbate Carr when they were in his car together. On the second incident she said she “didn’t want to do it” and jumped out of his car.

That was last time the man had sexual contact with her.

Det Gda McDonnell said the second girl was 12 years’ old and Carr 29 years’ old, when he texted her and commented on how good she had looked in a Manchester United jersey he had earlier spotted her in.

He again began to bombard the girl with text messages and sent her images of his genitals.

There are two charges of sexual assault against this girl, the first of which occurred in the kitchen of his niece’s home when he pressed his groin against her groin, pulled at her vagina over her clothes and squeezed her breasts.

In the second incident of sexual assault against this girl, he called her over to his car and told her he would give her phone credit but saying: “I want something from you first,” before he squeezed the girl’s breast.

She told him to “Shove it,” and Carr didn’t sexually assault her again.

The third girl was 11 years’ old when Carr got her number from his niece’s phone.

He bought her phone credit and texted her.

He later sexually assaulted her in his parked car.

The fourth girl was 13 years’ old when she again met the man through her friends. Det Gda McDonnell said she often went to his apartment where he gave the girls “cigarettes, cannabis and biscuits”.

He asked the girl for sex and she said no.

Carr is charged with two offences of sexual assault against this child which involved him assaulting her in his car.

On one of these occasions, the garda said he had been “talking dirty” to the girl as he dropped her home and touched her breasts outside of her top.

She told him to “fuck off” and got out of his car.

On another occasion when he sexually assaulted her, she told him to get his hands off her and she got out of the car before it came to a complete stop.

The final girl again got to know Carr when she began secondary school in 2001.

He admitted one charge of sexual assault with this girl which occurred when he tried to have sex with the girl as she lay on a bed in is apartment after he had taken the girls out to celebrate their graduation.

The girl was 17 years’ old at the time and the man had just put the tip of his penis into her vagina when she realised what was happening and managed to push him off her.

Five of the victims indicated through their victim impact statements how the abuse affected them.

The now 19-year-old boy said he lost over three stone in weight at the time as he was not eating because he was disgusted about what was happening to him.

He said he sometimes has nightmares about Carr abusing him.

He said he has terrible social skills and feels uncomfortable when he is alone with men.

The first female victim said she had a mental breakdown in 2011 and had to take time off work on multiple occasions.

She had to go on medication and has been diagnosed as having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“Growing up I resented everyone I met. He made me think the world was evil,” she continued.

She said she caused fights for no reason to try and make her family’s life as bad as her’s and had huge problems being intimate with her boyfriend.

“This man is dangerous. He bullied myself and friends to keeping us quiet. He threatened us so we could cover his tracks. He manipulated his niece into keeping it quiet,” the woman continued.

The second female victim told Carr: “I am no longer your victim. You underestimated that little girl but that doesn’t mean I haven’t struggled.”

She said for more than half of her life, Carr got away with the abuse, “but not now”. She said her mind remembers it all: “It is etched and scarred into my memory; part of me now.”

She described Carr as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and said there was “the shadow of the demon lurking around every corner – like you had a tracker on me”.

She spoke of how she tried to make herself not look as nice, in the hope that he would leave her alone.

She said she lived in a “daily hell” that Carr had created by his daily actions.

“I don’t know how you sleep at night: you are a monster, a paedophile, a child molester, a coward,” the woman continued, before adding that she “wants to help stop the stigma of silence”.

“I will shout from the rooftops what you have done, in the small hope that it will save another child. I will never forget what you have done and I hope you will never forget either. You are sitting here today because of your own actions – may you rot in prison where you belong. I am here for my justice, the justice I want, deserve and need,” the woman concluded.

The third woman said she now realises she was abused and this has impacted on her marriage and family life. She said she gets very distracted and angry and it causes tension in her home. She keeps thinking: “Why would I allow it?”

The fourth woman said she couldn’t tell anyone about the abuse, because Carr had threatened that he would “make her life hell”.

“I have lived in fear because of you. I have so much anger because I have never spoken of it. I hated it and I hated you,” the woman said.

She continued that she hated looking in the mirror and she never really knew how much she let the man into her head.

She said she no longer needs to look over her shoulder. “You are where you belong and I know I can sleep better knowing that other children are safe,” the woman concluded.

The court heard Carr has one previous conviction for stalking and was jailed for six months for this offence.

He was one of four victims that had been abused himself when he was an older teenager. A person was convicted of this offence and jailed.

 Philipp Rahn SC, defending, told the court that Carr is the younger of five children and had a close relationship with his parents.

He worked as a bus driver for Dublin Bus for 13 years.

He handed in a letter written by his client in which he expressed “his deep regret and sorrow”, acknowledging that the victims are dealing with trauma that he caused and hoping the court process with help them in their healing.

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