Sunday 21 April 2019

Boy who raped and sexually abused half-sister should be placed in residential care while being treated, court heard

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Jessica Magee and Brion Hoban

A teenage boy who raped and sexually abused his eight-year-old half-sister should be placed in residential care while undergoing treatment, a court has heard.

The 16-year-old has pleaded guilty to five counts of oral rape and 44 counts of sexual assault, carried out between September 2016 and January 2017.

The teenager cannot be named to protect his identity and that of his half-sister. The abuse took place in the Munster area.

The Central Criminal Court heard previously that the boy told gardaí he had been copying what he saw on a pornographic website, PornHub.

A garda told Imelda Kelly BL, prosecuting, that in January 2017, the teenager's mother walked into her living room to discover her son inappropriately touching her daughter's genitals.

The teenager was 14 at the time and his half-sister was aged eight. His mother made a complaint to gardaí and the teenager was arrested.

During interviews with gardaí, the teenager admitted removing his half-sister's clothes and masturbating. He said he penetrated her vagina with his fingers and placed his penis in her mouth.

He also said he rubbed his penis on her vagina and anus, but denied penetration.

Today, the court heard evidence from psychologist Linda Cooney from NIAP, an inter-agency project that treats adolescents who sexually abuse.

Ms Cooney told the court that the accused boy moved out of his mother’s house, where his half-sister lives, immediately after the abuse was discovered.

He is currently living with his father, but Ms Cooney said this emotional environment was not adequate to allow him to undergo successful psychological treatment.

She said the boy had below average abilities in perspective taking, making it difficult for him to understand the impact of the abuse on his half-sister.

Ms Cooney said the teenager was motivated to get help, but needed a care-giver who could be emotionally available and supportive to him for the next two years of treatment.

“Treatment is hard. He will have to dig deep to connect with the consequences of his abuse of his sister, to enhance his victim empathy skills,” she added.

Ms Cooney said she had concerns that the boy did not feel safe and had spoken about his father's anger, saying he needed to be careful and that “as long as you keep your mouth shut, you're grand.”

Ms Cooney said the boy's father had demonstrated poor communication and coping skills and had walked out of meetings with psychologists.

The court heard that the boy's mother was not ready for him to return to her house as she still felt very angry towards him, although she would like to build a relationship with him in the future.

In a victim impact statement previously read out in court, the mother of the injured party described the shock and horror she experienced upon discovering what her son had been doing to her daughter.

“My daughter's innocence has been violated under the most cruel circumstances imaginable,” she said.

“I am grieving on two fronts; for my daughter and for my lost son,” she said, adding that she was only beginning to contemplate some level of forgiveness for her son.

She said that her daughter had nightmares and worried about her half-brother reappearing to follow through on threats he made during the abuse. She said she hoped her daughter had not been damaged beyond repair.

Justice Michael White said he needed some time to structure a sentence but warned that he wasn't here to make a “care order”. The teenager was remanded on continuing bail for sentence on April 1.

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