Man jailed for sexual abuse of brother and sister while in his teens

Westmeath man (31) gets five-year sentence for rape and sexual assaults in 2004-2008

The judge was suspended six months of the sentence to encourage rehabilitation. Photograph: Dave Meehan

The judge was suspended six months of the sentence to encourage rehabilitation. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

A Westmeath man who sexually abused his younger sister and brother when he was a teenager has been jailed for 4½ years.

The court heard the man, who committed the offences when he was aged 14-18, had a “dysfunctional family background”.

The man (31), who cannot be named to protect his siblings’ identities, pleaded guilty to anal and oral rape of his younger brother on dates between January 2007 and January 2008.

He also pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual assault and one attempted sexual assault of his younger sister on dates between April 2004 and January 2007. He has no previous convictions.

All offences occurred in the family home and came to light in 2018, when the man’s brother disclosed the abuse to his family. His sister then also disclosed that she too had been abused by the man. He was arrested and made admissions to gardaí.

Mr Justice Alex Owens noted in his sentencing remarks that there had been serious and long-lasting effects on both victims as a result of the abuse.

He noted that most of the abuse occurred while the man was under 18 and his level of culpability was reduced by his young age and the lack of appreciation of the harm caused to the victims, although this lessened as the man got older.

The judge took into account that the man had a difficult time growing up and that he led a blameless life since and was in responsible employment up until the offences came to light.

Guilty pleas

He noted the man’s remorse, which was evident by his admissions and guilty pleas. The pleas in relation to the offences against his brother came earlier than in the case of his sister.

The judge said the earlier the plea, the greater the mitigation as it took away the worry for the victims that they would not be believed and made room for other trials. He said he was willing to suspend a small portion of the sentence to encourage rehabilitation.

Mr Justice Owens imposed a sentence of five years’ imprisonment with the final six months suspended on strict conditions. He ordered three years’ post-release supervision.

In her victim-impact statement, the man’s sister wrote she was no longer a small child or a victim and was “here for justice”.

She outlined the effects the abuse had had on her life, including difficulties with relationships and intimacy, post-traumatic stress and suicidal thoughts.

His brother said the abuse ruined his childhood.

The accused man took the stand during his sentence hearing and apologised to his victims, who were not in court.

“I can’t take back what I did,” he said. “I offer an apology. I don’t know if that’s enough. I will never forget what I did until the day I die.”