Saturday 24 February 2018

Terrified boy lay awake in the dark waiting to be raped by father, court told

Dad denies sex assault and neglect of son from age of 12

Ciaran Byrne

HE's 20 now. But he still sounded like a little boy, his gentle voice telling a courtroom of strangers about the countless, frightened nights.

His father, a 52-year-old from the west of Ireland, sat just behind him, facing 47 charges of rape and sexual assault and one count of neglect.

"He was my father, like, he shouldn't have been doing those things to me," the son whispered in court yesterday.

He was 12 when it began, the sometimes thrice-weekly routine of either being roused from his sleep by his father, or just lying awake in the dark, waiting for the door to open.

No child witness facilities at this trial. In the eyes of the law, the son is an adult though his ordeal allegedly began just as he was leaving primary school. It was September 2001 and while the world focused on global terror, the life of this boy was allegedly being shaped by horrors at home.

He took the stand, wearing a crisp brown suit, white shirt and purple tie and he described a childhood from hell.

Before Judge Barry White he alleges he was raped, abused and molested at least three times a week by his father over a four-year period.

The bleak list of charges took 15 minutes to read in the Central Criminal Court. The father denies them all, including: 11 counts of anal rape, 12 allegations of oral sex on the boy and 24 counts of sexual assault.

Charge number 12 was read out: "That on a date unknown between 1/07/2003 and 1/09/2003 the defendant did sexually assault (NAME)."

For legal reasons, nobody in this trial can be identified to protect the identity of the victim.

Prosecuting counsel Aileen Donnelly told the jury: "You will find the charges disturbing and even distasteful and some of the evidence may distress you."

Two gardai gave evidence, including a briefing on maps which showed the layout of the little house where the family lived. The father slept on the sofa in the living room.


Social services had been involved with the family at various stages, providing help in tidying the house, cooking dinner and cleaning the children.

The parents allegedly went to the pub most evenings. The 20-year-old was asked in court who looked after the children at night. "Myself, like," he said.

Once, after a fall at school, his father had allegedly taken the boy's injured wrists and twisted them some more before throwing his son to the ground. Then, on the way to a hospital for treatment of the boy's injuries, the father stopped at a pub where he consumed several pints.

The alleged sexual abuse apparently happened in three stages. First the father had come to the boy's room, pulled back the bedclothes, pulled down his shorts, and touched his private parts. After a while, he began to wake him and make him perform oral sex. Then the father would perform oral sex on the boy. This happened often.

"It would go on a couple of times a week," said the son. "He would wake you up a lot of the time; a lot of the time I would be awake, because you'd be too afraid he'd be coming."

Saying no was not an option, said the son in his evidence. "If you said no, he'd only hit you," he told the court. Was this, asked Ms Donnelly, something the son wanted his father to do? "No."

How did he feel? "I don't know. He was my father, he should not be doing that.

"I said 'no' a couple of times and he hit me. You'd have to do it anyway," said the son. "He would warn you every time not to tell anyone."

Shortly after he began secondary school, the rapes began. "He would ask me to lie on my stomach . . . it was very sore," said the son.

He moved out of the family home in 2004. A year later he contacted his father. They met up. "I wanted to meet him. My head was all over the place," the 20-year-old said in court.

"He was still my father. It was not all bad times. I was hoping he might apologise to me. I was hoping that he was sorry."

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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