A leading writer yesterday pleaded guilty to the aggravated sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy.
Desmond Hogan (57), who has written a number of novels, several short story collections as well as a travel book, was accompanied in court by his publisher, Anthony Farrell of Lilliput Press.
Mr Farrell testified on his behalf at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court.
Mr Hogan, of Back Lane, East End, Ballybunion, Co Kerry, was charged with engaging in a sexual act with a child under the age of 17 and aggravated sexual assault on November 11, 2006, at Back Lane under Section 3 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006.
Sgt Michael McCarthy said the injured party was one of three boys in the accused’s chalet on the date in question. Mr Hogan was showing them sketches and etchings and various photographs of naked people. The material was not modern but Renaissance art, the garda said.
The assault took place when the injured party’s friends left to go a local shop, commencing in the kitchen with the accused removing all the boy’s clothes and then his own clothes.
He proceeded to kiss the boy, putting his hand on his bottom, Sgt McCarthy told Judge Carroll Moran.
At this point in the evidence, Mr Hogan rose to his feet and walked towards the bench saying, “I do not subscribe to this. It is not true, it is not true.”
When he resumed his evidence, Sgt McCarthy said when the two boys returned from the shop there was a knock on the kitchen window, Mr Hogan retreated to the bedroom and placed the boy on the bed, face downwards, where an assault took place.
Sgt McCarthy said Mr Hogan was “a reclusive figure in Ballybunion”, and had very little contact with the local people.
He had got to know the young people in the area “from exercising on the secluded Nuns’ Beach”, the sergeant said.
He added that the boy’s friends returned and asked what had occurred, and that Mr Hogan denied anything had happened.
The three boys left together for the injured party’s house and the boy was brought by his mother to make a complaint at the garda station later that night.
He was sent for examination to the sexual assault in the South Infirmary in Cork.
Medical and forensic evidence found traces of semen on the boy and on his clothing, but no bruises.
Replying to prosecutor Tom Rice, Sgt McCarthy said there was no violence involved by the accused.
In a victim impact statement, the boy’s mother said the family was completely devastated and “totally disgusted” by what had happened.
It affected the family every day of their life and they were constantly worried about where their sons are now at any time.
“This has completely changed my son from being a happy young lad to someone who is constantly moody and totally frustrated with himself. I have lost a bit of my loving son.”
Publisher Mr Farrell said he had known Mr Hogan for several years and he was a writer with an international reputation.
He was a man of “utmost probity” and a family friend for many years.
Mr Farrell read into court a statement from writer Colm Tobin who described Mr Hogan as a writer “of immense power and importance who dealt with human isolation and whose work should not be underestimated”.
Defence lawyer Anthony Sammon said the accused wished to express his regret for leading the boy into such a situation and also expressed regret to the boy’s family.
Judge Moran said he was taking on board the fact the accused had no previous convictions but he would have to have regard for the fact that he took advantage of a young man.
There had been no explanation as to why that happened and no assurance that it wasn’t going to happen again, Judge Moran said. That left the situation “somewhat up in the air,” the judge added.
He adjourned the case to October 6 next for a report from the Probation Service.