John Joe Kiernan sexually abused two children six decades ago

John Joe Kiernan, who is 86 years old, has been given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting two children over 60 years ago.

In court, Kiernan pleaded guilty to six sample counts of indecently assaulting one boy between 1958 and 1963 and five sample counts of indecently assaulting the boy’s younger sister between 1959 and 1963.

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Kiernan also pleaded guilty to raping the younger girl in her childhood bedroom at an unknown date.

After one attack, Kiernan threatened the girl by telling her he would “bury her.”

At the time of the abuse, Kiernan was working as a farm laborer for the family’s farm in Forthill, Arva, Co Cavan, where all of the assaults occurred.

The victims, both now in their 60s, reported the assaults last year.

Presiding judge Justice Michael White handed down a suspended sentence of eight years for the rape and five years and two years for each of the indecent assaults.

Noting Kiernan’s old age and poor health, Judge White suspended the sentences. He said that it was not the court’s function to exact revenge, but rather protect society from dangerous people.

As part of the sentencing, Kiernan has been ordered to “keep the peace.”

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During the trial, Judge White praised the victims for their “unbelievable courage” in coming forward in 2017.

The male victim said during the trial, “I never remember being afraid. This was just normal life for me.”

In 2005, Kiernan began a five-year sentence in prison for assaults he incurred upon three boys and one girl between 1963 and 1973.

Kiernan has two children who he is presently estranged from.

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