Thursday 8 December 2016

'I felt like I had been bold' - Woman understood brother was sexually abusing her as a child after reading sister's magazines

Fiona Ferguson

Published 07/11/2016 | 16:56

The Central Criminal Court (stock photo)
The Central Criminal Court (stock photo)

A Dublin man who as a teenager sexually abused his younger sister will be sentenced later this month.

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The victim was aged between nine and 12 years old at the time of the abuse while her brother was aged between 14 and 17 years old.

The victim told the court that her family had been completely torn apart and destroyed by the abuse.

The 31 year old accused who cannot be identified to protect his victim's identity, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to sexual assault and oral rape of his sister at their family home on dates between 2000 and 2002.

The court heard that during this time the accused inappropriately touched his sister, penetrated her vagina with his fingers, forced her to masturbate him and orally raped her.

The abuse came to light after the girl told a school friend. Her family were informed and social services became involved. The accused man attended specialised therapeutic services and a formal complaint was not made to gardai until 2013.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy remanded the accused in custody for finalisation of sentence later this month.

In her victim impact statement the now 26-year-old woman said she had been a happy child “without a care in the world” and that the accused had been her favourite brother. She said that had all changed one day and she had been left “paralysed in fear, confusion and pain.”

She said the weeks after the first incident had been filled with confusion. “I felt bad like I had been bold,” she said.

“Little did I know it would be a regular occurrence over the next two years,” she continued.

The woman said she felt trapped as she had not said anything the first time it happened and her brother was good to her during the day. She said she began to understand what was happening as time went on, mainly from reading her sister's magazines.

She described her home as “nothing short of a war zone” and she felt blamed for what had happened to her. She said she felt as if her brother was treated as the victim.

She said the impact of the sexual abuse on her had been “devastating, profound and far reaching.”

The complainant said she had a good relationship with her mother as a child but that now her family had been destroyed by the abuse and completely torn apart.

The woman said although her brother was young when he abused her the abuse had gone on for two years and she could not accept he did not know what he was doing was wrong.

Defence counsel, Sean Gillane SC, asked the court to take into account that since the offences the accused man served “a very long unofficial probation period in a sense” and had shown himself to be a law abiding citizen who was capable of a day's work.

He said the man had acknowledged his wrongdoing, even as a child, and thrown himself into therapeutic work with the specialised services where he developed insight into what he had done.

Mr Gillane urged the court to be as lenient as possible.

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