A WEXFORD man found guilty on 44 of 45 charges of indecent assault on three brothers has been sentenced to six years in prison following a trial that lasted 11 days at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court.
Sixty-three-year-old William (Billy) Hore, of Bride Street, Wexford town, had denied 45 charges of indecent assault on three brothers at a number of locations from September 1968 to December 1979. He was found not guilty of one of the 45 charges by a jury.
Judge Barry Hickson, in passing sentence, said one of the brothers was celebrating Wexford's win in the All-Ireland final of 1968 when one of the assaults took place.
'When he (defendant) was finished with two of the brothers he picked on the younger brother who was five years of age at the time.
'Just think of a five-year-old having to endure this. Just think of what this young boy went through and is still going through,' said Judge Hickson.
'These are now grown men. It took time to come before the court. It took many years to sort their lives out. The defendant maintained his stance of innocence but the jury did not agree with him while the Victim Impact statements spoke of their terrible ordeals when they were being abused,' said Judge Hickson, who added that Hore continued to have the support of his family and friends. They have been very loyal to him.
'I have read the testimonials. This man was rated as a person who was trustworthy, a man who had put something back into society through St Vincent de Paul. He had worked at Springs up to its closure and then in Pierces.
'But having read the Probation Report, the defendant persisted in his denial of the offences which prevented the Probation Officer engaging with him like they would have liked,' Judge Hickson added.
During the sentencing hearing Det Garda Michelle Carey outlined details of the indecent assaults perpetrated on the victims at a number of locations in Wexford town.
Det Carey told the sentencing hearing that the defendant had worked in Springs in the town until it closed, and then worked in Pierces. He later worked for six years with St Vincent de Paul. He is married with two children. Following a previous trial, he has one previous conviction in the context of this indictment.
Judge Hickson complimented Det Carey on her evidence during the course of the trial describing it as 'extremely fair and professional'.
Victim Impact Statement 1:
The Victim Impact statement of one the brothers outlined the impact the indecent assault had on him.
'In 1975, I was sexually abused by Billy Hore. I was five years of age. He was around 24 years old. The abuse continued until I was nine years old. In that time he abused me over 200 times. I have been robbed of my childhood. Before this happened I was an outgoing child, lots of energy and mischief, from a big family.
'I was so young when the abuse happened I was confused and traumatised with what was happening to me, my whole character changed and I got very withdrawn, angry, and mostly scared, which caused problems, especially with my parents and siblings. I was scared that the abuse would never end.
'I was scared that my abuser would catch me and beat me up. I would be scared that my family would find out and I would bring shame on myself and on them. He would threaten the lives of my parents continually saying this is our secret, ssh don't tell anyone. I truly believed in my child's mind he would carry out these threats just like you would believe in Santa Claus. He kept brainwashing me into believing I could never tell.
'Having gone through this, my teenage and early adult years were a mess. The fear turned to shame. I was guilt ridden and greatly embarrassed and did not know where to turn. So it seemed easier to block it out as I did not know how to process what had happened to me. I became more and more isolated from my family, battling the recurring memories of the abuse.
'I began by turning to alcohol and drugs which was a part of the mechanism I used to try and live with the sexual abuse that happened in my childhood. I lashed out at loved ones in order to somehow release the pain, fear and anger and rage inside. I moved around from place to place like I was always running away from myself, always feeling lost. My concept of 'home' had been destroyed by my abuser. I am still moving, unable to find stillness and rest in my life.
'There came a time, a number of years ago, when I could no longer deny my childhood.
'Billy Hore raped me the day after my Communion. This cost me profoundly in many ways and set my life on a completely different path from the one I would have taken, my little body suffered excruciating pain, confusion and indignity. I could no long function as an adult until some kind of acknowledgement of these horrendous experiences had been made.
'Looking back on my life, I see how so much changed, as a result of this abuse. My fractured relationships with my family and with myself began at that time. I found school almost impossible, lacking in concentration, needing to learn, always nervous and under-confident, but mostly I was ruled by fear of people finding out about me.
'I look back on some of the happier times in my young life because I felt so safe away from my abuser. We would go to the seaside where my mum had a mobile home for the summer from about the age of 11. This was what my childhood should have been like, having fun, without a care in the world. But my later teenage years brought uncontrollable anger which I vented on my family and people I love. I ended up not even speaking to my older brother for at least 15 years and fell out with various family members for over 15 years.
'A lifesaver to me was a man called Greg Browne (RIP). He pulled me from the brink when I tried to commit suicide and self harming. He got me to join the AA which started my recovery. I will always be truly grateful for that. I joined the fire service. This made me realise how precious a gift life is, and to save a life is even more precious, which in turn gave great meaning to my own life.
'This made me realise the time had come to make me face up to the sexual abuse I had suffered as a child. I am very grateful now that it is out in the open. I had very mixed emotions about the court case. I was no longer that child whose life was destroyed by the sexual and psychological abuse I sustained from my abuser. I was now a man with my own family. I had nothing to fear physically from my abuser but still the power that that childhood trauma exerted over me was completely over powering.
'I leaned heavily on my family and friends who supported me once they knew what I had been through. I leaned heavily on my two brothers who had gone through this abuse, completely unbeknownst to me at the time.
'This court experience has been terrifying to open the door on those locked-in memories, and put myself back into reliving those experiences has shaken me to my core.
'I do not know how long it would take for me to recover. A small part of the weight of this burden of secrecy, fear and pain, that I have been carrying since I was a child has been lifted as a result of being now a survivor and not a victim, and hopefully today I will get justice from the cold comfort that it will give me, that my abuser will be sentenced to the full extent that the law provides and my sentence finishes.
'Time cannot heal all things. I believe my life would have been different if Billy Hore had not sexually abused me. I believe that I would have taken a different path and not spent so much of my life in turmoil. I am 45 years-old and my life is ahead of me, thanks to the Irish Judicial system.'
Victim Impact Statement 2:
The second brother said: 'You abused me many years ago. You stole my childhood, my innocence and my life.
'I am now here today to reclaim it. You stalked me from the age of five years and this continued until I reached 11 years of age. What you did to me in those early years had an effect on me later in life.
'I want you to know that I have achieved many things but I could have achieved so much more.
'Over the years, I have had flashbacks of the sexual abuse perpetrated by you. I also had nightmares from a very young age of the sexual assaults that continued well into my adult life. There have been many nights where I have woken up bathed in sweat and panic, tormented with fear and loneliness.
'My greatest fear even as an adult was the fear of meeting you in the street. So I left Wexford, my family, my friends, unwillingly just so that I did not have to meet or see you. That is the fear you instilled in me.
'Fear may be just a word to you but to me fear is reliving that sexual abuse that you committed upon me. It means still remembering the smells and sounds when you hurt me and my innocence. Real fear is hard to describe but you can be sure that it is sordid, hurtful, degrading and silent.
'The impact of keeping silent and not talking about the abuse made me feel worthless and ashamed and at times a nervous wreck. The society I lived in then would have wanted me to keep this abuse silent and as a young innocent child, I did not have the capacity to deal with these horrible truths of my past, but no longer.
'I have lived in denial with myself, my wife of 30 years, my own precious children, my mother and father and my siblings. I could not tell anyone about the pain of this abuse, but I so much wanted to, every hour of every day. That pain made me get angry, cry and hate and despise you for what you did.
'I hated myself, depression would set in, and at times I would think of ending my life, just to take away the pain.
'I have been running away from life for over 40 years. There were times that I drank too much, just so that I could pass out, sleep and forget. At other times I would keep asking the same question over and over, 'why did I not stop it?'. I realised eventually I could not. I was a young child and powerless to prevent it. Now when I look back on my childhood, the impact of abuse was that of living in fear. It was constant and relentless. The fear of you catching me when I played outdoors, the tricks you used to entice me into your cruel world, all resulted in lost relationships with my parents, siblings and friends.
'Because of you I have missed over 25 years of ordinary family get-togethers, weddings, communions, confirmations and other family celebrations, which meant a lot to me. This constant running away from myself and others has left me exhausted. I am not sure I will ever recover fully. Those days should have been the happiest times of my life, but instead, they were fearful and lonely, as a result of what you did to me.
'The completion of my statement for this case has lifted a 40-year burden from my whole being. For the first time in a very long time, I am able to find a measure of relief, and relaxation within myself.
'Facing the truth of my past has been a terrifying journey and at times humiliating and liberating. I now realise I survived to get justice. There were so many times I died inside. I just wanted life to stop but not anymore. I have a voice and now I know it is being heard.'
Victim Impact Statement 3:
The Victim Impact statement of the third brother spoke of five years of torment of the trials and the nightmare which was his life before that.
'It is in 2015 and I am 56 years old and a survivor of sexual abuse. I made my complaint after 46 years in 2010 and the intervening five years have been years of torment. But of course my life before this was also a nightmare.
'My younger brothers, my elderly mother and father, my younger siblings, and of course my own wife and children, have suffered unbelievably through two criminal jury trials, one High Court judicial review. These five years have been the most difficult and unbelievable experience that any family should have to endure. Yet, still my abuser, has not shown one sign of remorse.
'Memory is a funny thing. The things you can't remember, the things you will never forget. Even though my abuse happened almost 50 years ago, I live them year in and year out, during my whole life.
'Believe me, I would have loved to have forgotten them, but these fearful memories have never afforded me true peace of mind, even in the good times.
'So what has my life been like? It goes without saying, that my early childhood was different to what a child's life should be. It was not carefree. It was not innocent. It was a childhood filled with fear, anger, bewilderment, bullying, humiliation and shame. My abuser made me feel compliant in his manipulations of me. I will never, ever forget him, for stealing my childhood.
'Sexual abuse has inhibited so many different facets of my life. It not only happened in reality but the countless times it is relived in my mind, it has affected my ability to be happy, to get close to people, to maintain relationships. I wanted for so many years to share my secret with my wife and was unable to do so.
'In the case of my own family it divided us from a very young age. I lost my relationship with my two brothers and in the case of one, it took 25 years to become close again. We did not socialise, mix or talk for those years. My relationship with my eldest sibling was also fractured for years. Last Wednesday when the jury returned their guilty verdicts, I hope and believe, that these relationships will start to be real.
'I know now that I did not reach my full potential in my early school years. Academically I am a late developer. I now have a Masters Degree in Criminological studies, a Doctorate in Philosophy and various other qualifications. I believe my abuse prevented me achieving my potential earlier. When I matured I channelled by energies and became driven to fill my life with projects, education, sports, anything to keep occupied from the nightmares that was always in recess of my mind. I could never sit still, I could never relax, I always and always needed to be occupied, otherwise the thoughts came back to haunt me. I could never sleep properly, I would wake in the middle of the night, tip toe downstairs and wait for the morning light to come to feel at ease.
'My marriage suffered for a period. My relationships with my children suffered. In fact for years I was adamant I did not want children, as I did not want any child to experience what I had gone through. Thankfully, I am so glad my mind was changed by the care and love of my wife. I did find at times I was over-protective of my children.
'Coming forward in 2010 was not an easy decision. I felt I had so much to lose. I was aware of my senior position in my work. I worried continually what my authorities and my colleagues would think of me. I had so many things to consider coming from a small town. However, I needed the nightmare to stop as I was hanging onto all aspects of my life by a thread. Coming forward was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. I knew my life and those around me would be changed forever.
'As a result of last Wednesday's guilty verdicts I feel positive going forward, knowing that I have been vindicated.
'The sexual abuse forced on me as a child was non-deserving. Today, I can look at you and say 'you do not anymore define me'. I can tell you now, if I could I would have spoken sooner, if I had been as strong as I feel today. I can look you in the face and tell you 'I am no longer afraid'.'
When Defence Counsel, John Peart, said he had handed in 16 references to the court, Judge Hickson replied that he had read them.
Mr. Peart said the defendant is 63 years of age who had worked all his life as a factory worker. Apart from these incidents he had never come before the court previously. He asked the court when passing sentence, that the sentence he will serve would not have the same impact on a person much younger that it will have on the defendant. Every day he will spend in prison he will suffer the guilt that he is in prison when he should be a person minding people, particularly his son who suffers from epilepsy.
Describing the offences as obviously horrific, perpetrated on these young victims who are now adults, Judge Hickson sentenced the defendant to two years in prison on one charge of indecent assault on each of the brothers, the sentences to run consecutively, meaning he would serve six years in prison to run from last Wednesday, the day he was remanded in custody.
He took the remaining charges into consideration. He also took the guilty verdict returned on a single charge in the trial of 2013 into consideration.
On the application of State Prosecutor, Marjorie Farrelly, he also ordered that the defendant on release from prison come under supervision for a period of five years, while he also be placed on the Sex Offenders Registrar.
On the application of Mr. Peart, free legal aid was fixed in the event of an appeal.