Partially suspended sentence for prolonged abuse of cousin
A Galway man who repeatedly raped his younger cousin when he was a teenager has received a partially suspended prison sentence of 10 years.
The 45-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court, to one count of rape and six counts of indecent assault in Co Galway on dates between January 1982 and April 1987. The court heard that a regular and sustained level of abuse went on three times a week when the victim was aged between six and 11 years old and the accused man was aged from 15-19.
The abuse escalated from him touching her outside her clothes to indecent assault to rape and oral rape by the time the victim was 11.
Mr Justice Paul Carney suspended the final 2½ years of the sentence after taking a number of mitigating factors into consideration. These included the man’s early guilty plea, his remorse and his age at the time.
He said that for some of the earlier offences, the man would have been entitled to the benefit of the Children’s Act. He ordered him to keep away from his cousin for the rest of his life.
Mr Justice Carney listed the aggravating factors in the case as the prolonged and sustained abuse, the breach of trust, the victim’s youth and the effect of the offences on the victim.
A psychologist’s report concluded that the victim was still suffering severe and chronic post-traumatic stress disorder and it was unlikely that she would ever recover fully.
The assessment said that the victim’s childhood had been destroyed by the abuse and that she had no happy experiences as a child.
She began to overeat to deal with the pain and to make herself less attractive.
She had put on weight and this resulted in her being bullied.
The report noted that neither of the victim’s parents took any significant action when they were told about the abuse and this had resulted in her having no relationship with them.
Garda Sinéad Cunniffe told Monika Leech, prosecuting, that the abuse began when she would stay at her aunt’s house after school.
She said that during indoor games of marbles, the girl’s cousin would kneel down behind her and indecently touch her while blocking the door.
In one incident at her own home in 1983, she was wearing her Holy Communion dress when the man digitally raped her.
The final incident of rape took place when the girl was staying overnight at her aunt’s home. The court heard that she had packed pyjamas inside of a nightie in the hope that they would better protect her.
The man orally raped her, telling her that this was what boyfriends and girlfriends did.
A year after this final attack, she saw a TV programme about child abuse and reported what had happened to her to a neighbour, who then told her parents.