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Man jailed after years of sexually abusing girl

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A man has been jailed for raping and sexually abusing a young girl over a period of several years.

Michael John O’Neill, 72, from Upton, Pontefract, was today sentenced at York Crown Court to 15 years’ imprisonment, and issued with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

He pleaded guilty in April this year to one count of raping a girl; eight counts of indecently assaulting a girl and four counts of gross indecency with a girl.

O’Neill’s crimes took place in the late 1960s and into the 1970s, in the Little Smeaton and Doncaster areas.

Detective Sergeant Fionna McEwan, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “O’Neill’s horrendous crimes have had an enormous impact on the victim and her family, and it is right that he now faces a significant jail sentence. I would like to pay tribute to the victim’s tremendous bravery in coming forward and talking about what happened to her, and I hope that she can now move forward with her life knowing that justice has been served.

“I would urge anyone who is the victim of sexual abuse to report it, regardless of how long ago it happened. I know it takes a lot of courage for people to call us or walk into a police station, but I would like to offer the reassurance that we have specially trained officers who will support you through the process, as well as offering you the support provided by other agencies.

“Your information could also trigger measures that are put in place to protect other victims, and help to inform a bigger picture of offending – both of which can help to protect and potentially reduce the risk to future victims.

“If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, no matter when, call your local police on 101. If you are in immediate danger, please call 999. If you prefer not to go direct to the police and you are not in immediate danger, you can contact a sexual assault referral centre (SARC) in your area. North Yorkshire’s SARC, Bridge House, can be contacted via 0330 223 0362. It is a service for all victims of sexual crime across North Yorkshire, regardless of when it happened. You can also contact Supporting Victims direct at www.supportingvictims.org or call 01609 643100.”

Last modified: October 16, 2018