Sex abuser threatened to slit throats of victim’s family, court told

Cian McCarthy sues Pat O’Brien, of Tankardstown, for damages over assault, trespass

Pat O’Brien, of Tankardstown, Kilmallock,  the court heard, had pleaded guilty in 2008 at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to six counts of sexual assault and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, with the last 18 months suspended on condition he stay away from Kilmallock for 15 years. File photograph: Getty Images

Pat O’Brien, of Tankardstown, Kilmallock, the court heard, had pleaded guilty in 2008 at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to six counts of sexual assault and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, with the last 18 months suspended on condition he stay away from Kilmallock for 15 years. File photograph: Getty Images

 

A man sexually abused his neighbour from the age of seven and threatened to slit the throats of the boy’s parents if he said anything about it, it has been claimed before the High Court.

Cian McCarthy told Mr Justice Michael Hanna that he was afraid the neighbour would do something to his parents.

“It was torture. I put a holy picture under my pillow to keep me safe,” he said, adding that the abuse continued for two years.

Mr McCarthy, a 20-year-old from Ballygibba, Kilmallock, Co Limerick, has sued Pat O’Brien, of Tankardstown, Kilmallock, for damages over assault and trespass on different dates between 2004 and 2006.

The court was told liability was admitted in the case and it was before the court for assessment of damages only. Having heard evidence on Thursday, the judge said he would rule on damages next week.

Six counts of sexual assault

O’Brien, the court heard, had pleaded guilty in 2008 at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to six counts of sexual assault and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, with the last 18 months suspended on condition he stay away from Kilmallock for 15 years.

The Court of Appeal later increased the sentence to five years, with two years suspended on foot of a similar condition.

Opening the case, Michael MacGrath BL, for Mr McCarthy, said O’Brien did not accept the suspension conditions and, after serving his sentence, went back to live opposite the McCarthys, who had to build a high wall so their son did not have to see O’Brien.

Mr McCarthy suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and “his life has been changed inexorably as a result of the abuse”, counsel said.

In evidence, Mr McCarthy said O’Brien would come up behind him and would kiss and fondle him. He said O’Brien did this in his own house and once in the McCarthys’ own home, when his mother had gone out to the shop.

‘Slit their throats’ threat

“He said he would kill my mother and father if I opened my mouth. He said he would slit their throats. Her said he would kill my brothers and sisters. I was so young I believed everything that came out of his mouth.”

Mr McCarthy said he eventually was able to tell another relative who told his parents, and they called gardaí.

Mary McCarthy, Cian’s mother, said O’Brien had taken away her son’s childhood.

When she heard about the abuse, she was horrified.

“I trusted him and he groomed my son,” she said. “I would have trusted him with my life. He was abusing my son behind my back. I will never forgive him for that.”

When O’Brien was released from prison and returned to live opposite them, Ms McCarthy said her family tried to sell their house and that she cannot let her younger children out to play at the front of the property.