A Dublin man who raped his former partner’s child eight times and sexually assaulted the girl's older sister has been jailed for nine years.
The 44-year-old man was convicted at the Central Criminal Court earlier this month of eight counts of rape and 18 counts of sexual assault by a majority verdict following a 12-day trial.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victims, was in a relationship with their mother at the time and “in a gross breach of trust”, preyed on the young sisters from 1992 to 1997.
The abuse began when he sexually assaulted the eldest sister in her bed in 1992 when she was 12-years-old.
He then went on to rape her younger sister eight times and sexually assault her 16 times from June 1993 to 1997 after moving in to the family home.
He raped the child once every three months from mid-1995 from when she was 12-years-old until she turned 14. The sexual assaults occurred in the mother’s bed, in other downstairs rooms and the kitchen, and sometimes with her brother asleep beside her.
It started with kissing, moving on to oral sex, digital penetration and eventually rape.
Neither sister knew the other had been abused by him until 2010, almost 18 years since the abuse began.
A formal complaint was made in 2012. When interviewed by gardai, the man denied abuse but referred to three incidents and claimed he awoke one night to find the younger sister having sex with him.
In her victim impact statement, this sister said: “I can’t describe the hurt and pain that he has caused my family. I have to live my life knowing he has taken my innocence from me.
“I thought I was going to my grave with this secret but knew I had to do this to protect other children from him.”
In a victim impact statement read out by prosecuting counsel, Michael Delaney SC, the eldest sister said her life had been destroyed. She described how she self-harmed, abused medication to “block out the pain and suffering” and was hospitalised after an overdose.
She said: “I was robbed of my innocence at 11 years old.”
“I will never forget that night I first found out about my sister’s abuse. A part of me died. I am haunted by the thoughts of that monster raping my little sister.”
The man, who has since been registered a sex offender, is in a new relationship with another woman who has an eight-year-old child.
Blaise O’Carroll SC, for the defence, told the court that the man was in his early 20’s when the offences occurred and that throughout his life, he has “played an exceptional role helping young people stay on the straight and narrow”.
The community has since rallied to support him with 43 signatures submitted to the court extending their support to him. The local football club, his former employers and girlfriend also submitted testimonies.
There were tears in court as he was jailed.
One supporter described in a letter how she had “lost faith in justice”, however Mr Justice Paul Butler added that this was “misguided”.
On handing down sentence, he said it was “very difficult to reconcile what everybody thinks of the convicted and his outside behaviour to what occurred”.
He described the abuse as “a gross and persistent breach of trust”, adding: “I cannot imagine how these complaints would have been articulated if they were not true.”