A Carlow man who sexually abused four of his nephews has been jailed for 13 years.
The four brothers, some as young as six, were separately abused by the man when they visited his home. He was convicted after a trial of abusing the eldest boy and then pleaded guilty in relation to the three younger boys.
In their victim impact statements the boys described how the abuse had devastating impacts on all of their lives. One of the victims said he felt guilty after finding out his brothers had also been abused.
“The pain and guilt of not coming forward and maybe saving them is hard to bear,” he said.
The 67-year-old man, who cannot be identified to protect his victims' identities, was convicted by a jury following a Central Criminal Court trial of oral rape, indecent assault and sexual assault of the eldest boy on dates between 1983 and 1991 when the child was aged between seven and 14 years old.
The man pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault on a second nephew on dates between 1984 and 1989. The boy was aged between six and eleven years old at the time.
He further pleaded guilty to five indecent assaults and six sexual assaults on a third nephew on dates between 1986 and 1996 when the boy was aged between six and 15 years old at this time.
Finally he pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault of a fourth nephew on a date between 1993 and 1996. The boy was between 13 and 16 years old during this time.
The accused man has no previous convictions.
Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy said that the man did not accept his guilt in relation to the eldest boy and so remorse was simply absent in that case.
Counsel for the accused said that the Probation Services had assessed the man to be at a low risk of re-offending. Imposing sentence, Ms Justice Kennedy also ordered that he be subject to two years of post release supervision.
The court heard that a local garda told Alice Fawsitt SC, prosecuting, that the accused man lived close to the four boys' grandparents home and they would call to see him.
The eldest boy recalled the abuse starting with unwanted touching and fondling when he was seven years old and when he was 13 years old progressing to oral rape. He said he would be given money after the incidents and they would occur once or twice a week.
The boy told gardaí he would be shown pornography on some occasions.
The second boy recalled the first incident of abuse occurring when he was six years old and his uncle pulled down his trousers to put the boy's penis in his mouth. He recalled being abused a number of times on fishing trips when the accused fondled his genitals.
The final incident occurred when he was about 11 and his uncle performed oral sex on him. He said that he also got money after the abuse.
The third boy said he was six or seven years old when his uncle told him he had hidden something on his person and asked him to find it. He put his hands down the accused man's trousers and his uncle did the same to him. His uncle continued to abuse him over time by fondling him.
The abuse progressed to his uncle performing oral sex on him and the abuse took place once or twice a week until he was 15 years old.
The final boy described a single incident of being in his school uniform when his uncle put his hands down the boy's trousers and rubbed his penis. He said his uncle told him: “Don't tell or you will get me in trouble.”
The accused man was interviewed by gardaí in 2013 and denied the allegations.
The eldest victim, in his impact statement, thanked the gardaí for their work in bringing the accused man to justice and thanked the jury for seeing through his uncle's “lies.”
He said his uncle had brainwashed him into thinking that the only crime was getting caught and put a wedge between him and his family. He said he and his brothers had trusted the accused man.
He said the brothers had been close but had been ashamed to ask for help from each other.
He said even now, during the trial, the accused man had tried to isolate him by making him stand alone in court and describe the worst moments of his life.
The second victim said he did not know his brothers had also been abused. He said he felt pain and shame for not coming forward and maybe saving them from being abused. He said he hoped that he could now get on with his life knowing he would not bump into the accused on the street.
The third brother also described the impact in his life which included depression, abuse of alcohol and shutting himself off from everyone.
“Not a day goes by I don't think about it,” he said of the abuse. “Basically [the accused man] ruined my life,” he concluded.
The fourth brother outlined that he suffered panic and anxiety attacks and felt uncomfortable with intimacy.