Sex abuse sentences ‘do not fit crime’

JUSTICE is not being done for women in cases where low sentences are being handed down to convicted sex abusers, the head of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has warned.

Ellen O’Malley Dunlop last night said the law in relation to sentencing in rape and child sex abuse cases clearly had to be changed following the handing down of a four-year sentence for a serial sex abuser.

Edwin Curry, 63, last November pleaded guilty at Kilkenny Circuit Court to a number of counts of indecent assault on four girls but denied the rest of the 189 charges against him, involving a further five girls.

It was found he had lured the children into a shed with kittens and sweets over a 20-year period.

Ms O’Malley Dunlop said four years was no fit sentence considering the initial crime, and the trauma the victims had to go through to face their abuser and taking the case.

“It takes enormous courage to take a case like this and stick with it. That kind of sentence is no justice for the women,” she said.

Following the sentencing on Wednesday, Curry’s victims said they were “appalled”.

Four of his nine victims read out victim impact statements describing how they were assaulted on a regular basis, sometimes from the age of five.

Two of the victims said they spent years feeling like child prostitutes because of what Curry had done to them.

The women also said they had difficulties in their sex lives as adults.

One woman said that, on one occasion, Curry said if she didn’t go into the shed behind his house with him he would bring in her younger sister instead.

Addressing her abuser directly in court, the woman said: “You are a cold, calculating and evil person who stole my childhood.”

The court heard how the abuser had “repeatedly indecently assaulted” his victims on a “daily and weekly basis” on dates between 1964 and 1985 and that he had sexual intercourse and performed oral sex with one of the girls.

Judge Olive Buttimer said the offences constituted a “disastrous breach of trust” of children and that the “sexual abuse of children over a 20-year period is a most serious offence”.

She sentenced Curry to four years to run from his date of conviction last November and ordered that he be placed on the sex offenders’ register and refused leave for an appeal.

Ms O’Malley Dunlop said for some reason, judges seemed to shy away from giving consecutive sentences.

This kind of sentencing, she said, did not send out a good message to perpetrators of the crime.

* The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre operates a 24 Hour Telephone Helpline on1 800 778 888, seven days a week, 365 days a year.


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