Angry victims 'appalled' by four-year jail term for abuser
THE victims of a 63-year-old sex abuser who lured children into a shed with kittens and sweets said last night they were "appalled" by a four-year prison term handed down to their abuser.
A number of women who were assaulted as children by Edwin Curry (63), of Kells Road, Kilkenny, between 1964 and 1985, told a court yesterday how their childhoods were stolen and that they felt like child prostitutes as a result of the assaults.
Curry pleaded guilty last November at Kilkenny Circuit Court to a number of counts of indecent assault on four girls but denied the rest of the 189 charges against him, involving a further five girls. He was convicted by a jury on all counts after an eight-day trial.
Four of his nine victims read out victim impact statements at yesterday's sentencing hearing and described how they were assaulted on a regular basis, sometimes from the age of five.
One woman said that, on one occasion, Curry said if she didn't go into the shed behind his house with him he would bring in her younger sister instead.
Addressing Curry directly in court, the woman said: "You are a cold, calculating and evil person who stole my childhood."
Two of the victims said they spent years feeling like child prostitutes because of what Curry did to them. They also said they had difficulties in their sex lives as adults.
"Sex to me is disgusting, ugly and dark," said one, while another told how she regularly suffered black-outs as a child.
Before the abuse started, a victim said, "I was a very beautiful, happy, bubbly girl" but since the assaults happened she suffered from low self-esteem and depression. "I feel I've been given a life sentence because I'll never know what I would have become if I had been given the chance."
A statement read out on Curry's behalf at yesterday's sentencing hearing asked Judge Olive Buttimer to grant a suspended sentence and said that he would have Masses said for the people he hurt.
The court heard last November that Curry had brought the girls into a shed behind his parents' house using sweets, kittens and money, and that he indecently assaulted them on a repeated basis in the shed and in his parents' house.
Curry took pornographic photographs of two of the girls while they were naked, touched their genitals and digitally penetrated them. Complaints were made against him in 2005 and he was questioned by gardai. But he told the court last November that the complainants were "conspiring" against him.
In his statement, he offered his "deepest and sincerest apology" to the victims and said that while in custody he had offered one of his kidneys to a hospital in an attempt to give something to society.
But the judge said his apology was "somewhat late in the day". She described the sexual abuse of children as "a disastrous breach of trust" and it was the court's role to protect children.
She said that the appropriate penalty was four years for each count committed after the law and penalty for indecent assault changed after 1981, and two years for each count committed before that. The sentences are to run concurrently.
One of the victims said after the hearing that she and the others were "absolutely appalled" by the sentence.
"I'm appalled that 189 counts of abuse over a 20-year period can warrant just four years," she said.