21-year sentence for rape of two stepsons

A Wicklow man who raped and sexually assaulted two of his stepsons hundreds of times over a 10-year period has been sentenced to 21 years in prison, with the final seven suspended.

The 51-year-old, the victims’ mother’s husband, also had his friend sexually abuse one of the boys and abused both of them in front of another male relative. He sometimes made the boys commit incest with each other while he watched.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said: “There was harrowing evidence of industrial quantities which had a profound and long lasting effect on both boys.”

He said both victims gave “sad and moving evidence” and “the effect of the crimes and the resulting damage has been permanent and irreparable for both”.

“Whatever sentence I give is an inadequate reflection of the horrors of the abuse.”

One of the boys told the court he did not know how many times the accused abused him. “It seemed like millions of time,” he said. “Some people had cereal for breakfast, I seemed to be molested for breakfast.”

The victims told the court they wish to waive their anonymity so the man can be named publicly. However, Mr Justice Hunt said the anonymity orders remain in place for now but a formal application can be made to have them lifted later.

The man pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 165 counts of rape and sexual assault against one boy, and 40 similar offences against his brother, between 1993 and 2003 at his Wicklow home. During interviews with gardaí, he accepted he was a “paedophile rapist” and described his offending as “shameful, horrendous, appalling, diabolical”.

Michael O’Higgins, defending, said his client wished to express his “deepest, sincere, and profound sorrow” to the victims. He said that, as a child, the man had himself been subjected to widespread and wholesale sexual abuse from people in his own peer group and from people in positions of trust.

In powerful victim impact reports, the victims outlined the abuse effects. The elder victim, now in his 30s, said he has been left with no confidence in himself. His brother said he is now living what can only be described as “hell on earth”.

The elder victim told gardaí last year he had been abused since the age of nine when the accused moved in with them. It began with the man masturbating the victim and having the child do the same to him. The man would do this every time he got the chance — up to three of four times a day. It became so frequent that the accused did not need to say anything, he would simply nod or gesture when he wanted to abuse the child.

He then progressed to raping the boy anally and orally. At one point, the boy decided to kill himself but stopped because he “didn’t want him [the defendant] to win”.

Once, the man brought the boy to his friend’s house where both he and his friend molested him. On another date, he abused both boys in front of another relative before having sex with the relative and telling the children “this is how it’s done”.

The elder victim told gardaí that he always abused him when his mother was in the house. “I think he used to get off on the thrill of nearly getting caught,” he said.

The accused also told the elder boy he could get him money if he was willing to perform such acts with other men.

The man began abusing the younger boy from when he was seven. He said this started with masturbation and led to rape as he got older. He said he felt he was abused “millions of times”.

Mr Justice Hunt ordered the defendant be placed under the supervision of the Probation Services for five years post-release, undergo rehabilitation and have no contact with the victims.


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