Man who told woman he raped she was a ‘special type of rape victim’ jailed for 11 years
Defendant sentenced for two rapes, organising prostitution and intimidating a witness
The trial heard that after he was arrested, O’Connor sent a Snapchat message to the woman with the text: ‘I guess it takes a special kind of rape victim to want to stay close to her rapist.’ Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times
A Co Kerry man who told a woman he raped that it takes a “special type of rape victim” to stay close to her attacker has been jailed for 11 years.
O’Connor was remanded in custody for sentencing on Thursday by Mr Justice Michael White, who sentenced him to eight years on the rapes, two years consecutive for organising prostitution and another year consecutive for the intimidation.
At his trial in Cork, the jury of six men and six women heard evidence that O’Connor told gardaí during interview he had rough sex with the victim but insisted it was consensual and typical of their sexual relationship.
But the woman told the jury that she and O’Connor had consensual rough sex a year earlier but that on September 25th, 2017, she not only did not consent to the sex but was crying, begging him to stop.
She told how he caught her and put her over his shoulders and brought her upstairs in her home, threw her on the bed and raped her, ignoring her pleas for him to stop.
The woman also told how she had been working as a sex worker before she met O’Connor, but he organised her business and instructed her to give all the money to him and she was paid each Thursday.
“He was the boss of my prostitution,” said the woman, adding that she thought her cut was 70/30 or 60/40, but O’Connor would “fine” her or “tax” her if she missed an appointment or was drunk when a client arrived.
The trial also heard that after he was arrested, O’Connor sent a Snapchat message to the woman with the text: “I guess it takes a special kind of rape victim to want to stay close to her rapist.”
In her victim impact statement, the woman told the court how she cannot forget the day O’Connor raped her and finds it difficult to trust anyone new coming into her life.
“I have never been so scared in my life. I have repeated nightmares of the crime. I wake up screaming and having cold sweats. I see him in the room even though he is not,” she said.
“I cannot get away from that day. It is always with me,” she said, adding she hoped her strength in testifying and seeing O’Connor convicted would help “women in a similar situation to know there is help out there”.
Defence counsel Colman Cody SC said that his client accepted the verdict of the jury in relation to the organising prostitution but maintained his innocence on the two rape convictions and the intimidation conviction.
“He had a horrendous childhood, to say the least. This was a young man who did not have a caring environment when he was growing up... He was subjected to a lot of bullying and humiliating treatment in school,” he said.
Mr Justice White said it was “certainly one of the more serious cases I have had to deal with” and said it was chilling to see O’Connor’s calculated and menacing coercion of a vulnerable young woman.
“He directed her prostitution with increasing coercion, control and exploitation for monetary gain. She was getting increasingly concerned about his behaviour and his unwanted visits to her home and increasingly abusive behaviour.
“The rapes were savage, callous and cruel and, quoting the defendant’s own words, he broke her and made her feel worthless,” said Mr Justice White as he jailed O’Connor for a total of 11 years.
Mr Justice White said of the woman: “I salute her unique courage in giving evidence under pressure. She was naive to get involved with him in the first place. She is a kind person seeking affection. I wish her well in the future.”