Monday 23 September 2019

Sex abuser father (77) is jailed for seven years

Rita Broderick hugs a friend after speaking outside court
Rita Broderick hugs a friend after speaking outside court

Declan Conlon and Sonya McLean

A woman whose father raped and sexually abused her as a young girl said her childhood had been "stolen" and felt like "a warzone".

Rita Broderick (46) described the seven-year sentence handed to her father as "a good outcome", adding that the abuse had ruined her life.

"I'm struggling with mental health problems, I can't work right now. He stole my childhood, that's the biggest thing."

Ms Broderick, who now lives in Denver, Colorado, waived her right to anonymity so that her father could be named.

James Broderick (77), of Lyster Street, Athlone, Co Westmeath, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to sample charges, which included three rapes and three indecent assaults in the family home in Athlone on dates between January 1983 and September 1984.

The abuse began when she was four and the family lived in Manchester. It continued when they moved to Athlone when she was 13 and ended when, as a 15-year-old, she lashed out and ran from the house.

Suspending eight of the 15 years, Mr Justice Hunt said Broderick's confession was a mitigating factor but "not sufficiently extraordinary" to justify a non-custodial sentence.

An investigation began after Broderick voluntarily arrived at Athlone garda station in November 2011 to report his abuse of his daughter.

But Ms Broderick said she did not accept that her father's confession should be a mitigating factor.

She said: "I give him no credit, to be honest with you. He did not go in of his own accord."

At a sentencing hearing on November 19, 2015, Ms Broderick took the stand to deliver a victim-impact statement.

She described her abuse as "a defining experience in my life that framed everything that follows and continues".

Ms Broderick described her childhood as "a war zone" and said the skills she used to help her survive the abuse had cost her dearly in her adult life.

"The abuse is corrosive and filters down into your bones and into the soul of the victims," she said.

She added that "the sexual gratifications and powerful bliss" experienced by the abuser let them control the abused person for the rest of their lives.

Broderick also took the stand to apologise to his daughter and the rest of his family. He expressed remorse for the damage to her health.

The judge said he was impressed with the measured tone of Ms Broderick's victim impact statement and hoped her bravery would encourage other people in a similar situation to come forward.

In addition to Broderick's confession, the judge accepted the defendant's age and lack of previous convictions as mitigating factors and suspended eight years to "give him some prospect of emerging back into the light of day for some short period".

Irish Independent

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