Tuesday 28 March 2017

Man (87) jailed for raping five of his granddaughters

Conor Gallagher and Nicola Donnelly

An 87-year-old man was yesterday jailed for 12 years for raping and sexually abusing five of his granddaughters, having methodically 'groomed' each girl in an almost identical fashion.

On many occasions the Donegal man took Viagra to enable him to perform the rapes, the final one of which he committed last year when he was 86.

He started off by talking to them about sex when they were around seven before moving on to molest them "to show them what boys expected" of them.

When the girls were around 11 he started raping them and, with the exception of one victim, this would continue several times a week until their mid-teens. He would threaten the girls that if they did not do as he said he would abuse their sisters instead.

The man, who cannot be named to protect his victims' identities, pleaded guilty to 45 sample counts of rape, indecent assault, sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault at various locations in his rural community between July 1993 and September 2009.

Mr Justice Paul Carney declared the man a sex offender and sentenced him to 15 years for each rape and five years for each indecent and sexual assault. All the sentences are to run concurrently.

Mr Justice Carney suspended the final three years of the sentence and remarked that the sentence would "not be expiring until the man is well into his hundreds".

The abuse emerged after one of the victims detailed what happened during a counselling session, causing the others to come forward. The man was arrested soon after.

Nervous

The court heard the man began taking the eldest victim on walks on the beach and talking to her about sex. He said he would teach her how to "french kiss" because boys would expect her to do this and then moved on to molesting her.

When she was 11 he raped her for the first time, telling her it would "do you no harm". After this he raped her around three times a week -- either on the beach or in his home if his wife was away.

On another occasion he told her that her father would kill her "for taking advantage of an old man" if she told anyone.

The girl started to rebel at home in an effort to get grounded so she wouldn't be sent on walks with her grandfather. This led to her leaving home in her teens, causing the rapes to stop.

As each of the girl's younger sisters grew older the abuse happened to them in an almost identical way.

When he was raping the youngest victim, he could no longer bring her down the beach as he was nearly blind. Instead he would abuse or rape her in his bed.

When the man was arrested he admitted some of the incidents but claimed the girls had often initiated the sex. He claimed one was "fond of sex" and another had told him to get Viagra so they could have sex.

He told gardai he knew what he was doing was wrong and "that this day would come".

One of the victims said she had tried to commit suicide several times and abused alcohol and drugs because of the abuse.

Another said she could not even trust her husband or gardai when asked about it. She said she was angry with herself for not seeing the same thing was happening to her sisters.

Irish Independent

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