Rape victims awarded record €4.7m
Two women whom a High Court jury found had been repeatedly raped and sexually abused when they were schoolgirls by a neighbour, described in court as “a monster” and “an evil paedophile”, have been awarded a record €4.7 million in damages.
A €4 million award was made to Jacqueline O’Toole, who told the jury she became pregnant at 15 after being raped by Joseph Carrick. She had given her daughter, whom she named Edel, up for adoption hours after giving birth and had not seen her since.
A nun involved in the adoption treated her “like I was nothing”, she said. Not a day goes by that she does not think about her daughter, she added. A jury found Ms O’Toole was sexually assaulted and raped by Carrick and awarded her damages of €2.5 million, plus aggravated damages of €1.5 million.
A €700,000 award was made by another jury to Geraldine Nolan (nee Forbes) after it found she was raped and sexually assaulted by Carrick. The award included general damages of €500,000 and €200,000 aggravated damages.
Carrick, now 72, of Carysfort Woods, Blackrock, Co Dublin, did not defend either action.
After the awards were made, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne granted an application on behalf of the women for orders freezing accounts and assets of Carrick below €5 million. The judge was told the assets included the family home, and properties in Dublin’s south inner city, Stepaside and Saggart in Co Dublin, and Wexford.
In separate actions, two juries found both women had been raped and sexually assaulted by Carrick, formerly with an address at Creighton Street in Dublin’s city centre, when they were schoolgirls. The assaults began in the early 1970s.
Richard Lyons SC, representing the women, who are cousins and have been friends since childhood, said they were “systematically raped and dominated by this monster”. Counsel said that what Carrick, an “evil paedophile”, had put them through during their childhood was “beyond comprehension” and had devastated their lives.
In the separate actions, presided over by Ms Justice Dunne, Ms Nolan and Ms O’Toole said that on many occasions between 1970 and 1973, they were raped and indecently assaulted by Carrick, who was then a fellow member of a local church choir.
Medical evidence was given that both woman suffered post-traumatic stress as a result of the assaults.
Both women were 12 when the rapes began, the jury was told. They said Carrick would take them, separately, to his office at Eden Quay where he would sexually assault and rape them.
Ms O’Toole, Pearse Street, Dublin, said she was first raped by Carrick after he offered her a lift home in his car from Sunday Mass. The rape occurred at his place of work and Carrick told her afterwards not to tell anyone, saying no one would believe her, she said.
When she was 15, she became pregnant by Carrick. When she told Carrick she was expecting a child, she said he told her not to tell anyone about his involvement and the rapes ceased after that.