Rapist made defamation threat to victim after relative told of abuse

Attack on sister-in-law, who was 15 at the time, happened while she was babysitting

A man convicted of raping his sister-in-law when she was a child later threatened to sue her for defamation after she told somebody in his family about his abuse.

The woman told the Central Criminal Court she was an “innocent and naive” 15-year-old before the rape and has spent the last 35 years with no confidence, no self-esteem and no self-worth.

Reading from her victim impact statement, the woman described how she had no prior knowledge of sex the day the man (59) raped her.

The man, who is from Laois but cannot be named to protect the woman’s identify, pleaded not guilty to rape at his home on a date between October 1983 and July 1984. He was convicted of the offence following a trial in May. He will be sentenced at a later date.


He also pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexually assaulting the same woman but was acquitted.

The court heard the woman disclosed the rape to two of her siblings prior to 2004, to a doctor in 2013 and to a member of the man’s extended family at a charity function in 2014.

Legal letter

After the last disclosure, the woman received a solicitor’s letter from the man threatening legal action for defamation.

She made her garda statement about the rape that day and the man was arrested later that year. He co-operated during interview but denied the allegations and denied showing pornographic material to his then teenage sister-in-law.

Kerida Naidoo SC, defending, submitted to Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy that he was “not in a position to offer as mitigation a change in (his client’s) attitude”.

At the sentence hearing, the woman said she was taking back a little bit more control, self-worth and self-confidence.

“Most importantly I am taking back a little bit of me. Today I am not longer a victim of child sexual abuse. I am a survivor,” she said.

A garda told Pauline Walley SC, prosecuting, that the then 15-year-old was babysitting at the man’s home when he beckoned her into his bedroom, saying he had something to show her.

He took out a pornographic magazine, showed her sexually explicit photographs and had a “leery” expression on his face when he asked her what she thought. He then pushed the teenager onto the bed and raped her.

The woman later recalled that the man was very aggressive, grunting and had a contorted face during the incident. She was too afraid to tell anybody at the time, but a few years later went to her mother and disclosed the rape.

The garda told Ms Walley that the mother “shut her down and dismissed her completely”. The mother expressed regret about this while giving evidence at the trial, saying “they were different times”.


The garda agreed the man has been heavily involved in his community and has worked since he was 15-years-old.

The woman said the past four years waiting for the case to get to court had consumed her and her family’s lives.

She described not having had a good night’s sleep in many years and experiencing nightmares, flashbacks and claustrophobia.

“Thirty to 40 seconds was all it took for him to deprive me of my childhood and innocence,” the woman said.

She noted that during the trial she was cross-examined in the witness box for two days.

“If he had pleaded guilty I would have been saved the extra trauma of the trial and having to testify in minute and graphic detail. In my mind I was back to being a 15-year-old defenceless child,” she said.

Mr Naidoo asked Ms Justice Murphy to consider that it was a single incident with a single complainant and that there was no gratuitous violence used. He said because of the elapsed time, the person convicted before the court was not same person in 1983.

Mr Naidoo added that time spent in prison would be more difficult for his client considering his age.