A judge has said the message must go out that people are responsible for reporting sexual abuse within the family as soon as they learn of it.
Mr Justice Robert Eagar made the remarks in the Central Criminal Court as he jailed a man for 18 months for raping and sexually abusing his cousin from when he was 12 and she was aged six. The judge noted the girl’s family and extended family became aware of the abuse in 2007, when she was eight years old.
He said the decision of the family, and particularly her grandparents, not to alert the gardaí or social services “was a grave error”.
Mr Justice Eager said the family would have to take responsibility for the girl’s suffering, including self-harm and suicide attempts, which became particularly bad when she hit puberty. The court heard she eventually went to gardaí herself when she was 14.
The judge imposed a five-year sentence, with the final three and a half years suspended, on the condition that the accused undergo a sex offenders’ treatment programme in prison.
The accused wept loudly and clutched rosary beads after the sentence was handed down. He said he was not able to go to prison and threatened to take his own life.
He previously pleaded guilty on the morning of his trial at the Central Criminal Court to sample counts including two charges of sex assault, two charges of rape, and two charges of oral rape in Dublin on dates between October 10, 2004, and March 31, 2007.
The now 17-year-old girl took the stand to read her victim impact statement. She said she did not realise until she reached puberty how badly he had damaged her.
“I cut myself to try and take the pain go away. I felt had no other option but to end my life,” she said.
She said she had scars on her arms that would be there forever and she would never finish school.
“I will never forgive and I will never be able to forget,” she told the court, before she added that she hoped no other child has to go through what she did.
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