A former boxer who chased a nine-year-old boy down a north Belfast alleyway and sexually assaulted him after watching porn, has been jailed.
Ciaran James McAuley – who represented Northern Ireland as a boxer in the 2006 Commonwealth Games – was handed a two-year sentence by Judge Gordon Kerr QC.
Judge Kerr added an additional two years extension on to McAuley’s licence period, which he will serve after being released from custody, after ruling that McAuley was both dangerous and presented a high risk of reoffending.
McAuley, 27, who at the time of the offence had been living at a hostel on Belfast’s Victoria Street, targeted the boy on the afternoon of August 9 last year.
During sentencing, Judge Kerr spoke of the serious effect the incident has had on the young victim, who has experienced fear of going out, difficulties sleeping and anxiety as a result of what happened.
Belfast Crown Court heard that on August 9 last year, the victim and a 12-year-old friend had been at a shop after attending a local fun fair and were walking back to his house when he was chased down an alley by McAuley.
McAuley grabbed the boy, forced him to the ground and sexually assaulted him. A prosecutor said: “The injured party, as a result of being on the ground, was quite upset and shouting, but when the alarm was raised by his friend, the defendant ran off.”
During the incident, the youngster struggled with McAuley as he was on the ground, resulting in minor scrapes and bruises.
McAuley fled the scene and was apprehended 10 days later in a chip shop after he was recognised by a friend of the victim’s family.
During a police interview McAuley initially denied the offence. However, he later pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the youngster.
At a previous hearing, McAuley’s barrister spoke of his client’s academic and sporting achievements. These included securing three A levels, obtaining a degree in sports coaching, and participating in the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
McAuley’s downfall, the barrister said, could be traced back to when he started smoking cannabis, which led to a fall-out with his parents, a period of homelessness then “moving around” in hostel accommodation.
Passing sentence, Judge Kerr branded the incident as “an opportunistic attack on a young child” which was committed a short time after McAuley had been watching porn and which has had a lasting effect on the youngster.
Citing the fact that force was used, and noting McAuley’s admission that he has a sexual interest in young boys, Judge Kerr said: “I consider this defendant to be dangerous.”
In addition to serving time in prison with an extended period of licence imposed, McAuley was also made the subject of an eight-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).