Taoiseach praises strength and bravery of Charlene Masterson

Woman waived her anonymity to speak out about sustained sexual abuse by her father

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has been among those praising the strength of Charlene Masterson who waived her anonymity to speak out about sustained and horrific sexual abuse by her father.

In a tweet Mr Martin said: "The decision of Charlene Masterson to waive her anonymity and speak out about the horrific abuse inflicted by her father cannot have been easy, but her bravery and eloquence will have helped and inspired many, many other people in abusive situations."

Noeline Blackwell, chief executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC), said the 17-year sentence imposed on David Masterson demonstrated the seriousness with which the court had taken not only Masterson's sexual abuse of his adult daughter but also the coercive control which was a "core element" of the crimes.

Ms Blackwell said: "The case showed how coercive control can be a core element in many sexual crimes and must be taken extremely seriously, alongside the sexual offences being perpetrated.


"Mr Justice [Michael] White's judgment in imposing sentence showed he had to recognise the additional grave harm done to Charlene Masterson by her father through his controlling behaviour and deceit over a long period, as well as the harm done by his other crimes, including rape, sexual assault and other violence.

“It sends out a message to all society that this kind of coercive, controlling behaviour in what should be a core relationship of trust will not be tolerated by the courts,” she noted.

“The severe coercive control and manipulation that David Masterson exercised enabled the abuse to continue over more than seven years. It undoubtedly magnified the harm of the abuse for Charlene. It is notable, however, that she is determined not to let it overwhelm her life and we wish her well following the conclusion of the case.

“We are conscious that many people will be affected by this case and there will be some who may have a similar situation in their own lives,” Ms Blackwell added.

National 24-hour rape crisis helpline: 1800 778888

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times