Thursday 21 November 2019

Man jailed for sexual abuse of sister three decades ago

By Sonya McLean

A father of two has been jailed for nine years for the continued sexual abuse of his seven year old sister over 30 years ago.

The 52-year-old Dublin man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the now 39-year-old woman, was convicted by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury last December following a trial.

He had pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of indecent assault at the family home on dates between March 1, 1983 and March 1, 1987 when the victim was aged between seven and 11 years old.

The court heard that the abuse came to an end when the girl had sex education in school and told her brother what he had been doing was wrong.

She disclosed the abuse to their mother 13 years later but didn’t report it to the gardaí until June 2012.

The man met gardaí by appointment the following August but told them it was “pure fucking lies” and suggested that his sister needed help.

Garda Daniel Connell told Roisin Lacey BL, prosecuting, that the woman told gardaí that her brother first abused her by performing oral sex on her in the bedroom they shared around the time of her First Holy Communion.

She said it continued in a similar way four or five times a week for two years.

She later moved into a different bedroom with her sisters and the abuse started again, during which time her brother tried to have sex with her but she stopped him, telling him it was too painful.

She told gardaí that her brother told her it was their secret to keep between themselves and he would often give her sweets and money. She was in fear of him and still looked up to him as her older brother.

Gda Connell said that no abuse occurred for about six months during the four years as the man was serving a prison sentence at the time and was not living in the family home.

The woman outlined in her victim impact statement that as an adult she drank excessively and took painkillers to zone out from the abuse she suffered.  She later started to self harm and went for counselling at Pieta House when suicide became “an everyday thought”.

“I cannot change my past. It will always be part of me. All I ever wanted to do was get justice,” the woman said before she added that she hoped to start the healing process now and become a better wife and mother.

Tara Burns SC, defending told Judge Martin Nolan that her client is a father of two children who has a good work history. She handed in testimonials which described him as “a loyal and trustworthy employee”, a good-natured person and a loyal family man.

Judge Nolan noted that the maximum penalty available was a prison sentence of ten years.

He said what made the offence “incredibly serious” was the number of times the man had sexually assaulted his younger sister, which he estimated was in excess of a couple of hundred times.

“You were an adult and she was a child. You must have known what you were doing was wrong and you continued to do it,” Judge Nolan said before he sentenced the man to nine years in prison.

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