A three-year-jail term with half of it suspended was imposed yesterday on a man who sexually assaulted his own four-year-old daughter when she sought comfort after a nightmare.
Judge Gerard O’Brien imposed that sentence on Finbarr Lynch at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.
The child had sought the safe haven of her parents’ bed after a nightmare. However, her dad undressed her and sexually assaulted her as his wife slept beside him.
Judge O’Brien said yesterday, “The plea of guilty is a public acknowledgement of a wrongdoing. It has to be remarked that it came extremely late. The victim impact statement is extremely harrowing. The consequences have been grave. She has suffered greatly from this.
“The evidence is that he is extremely remorseful and has attempted to compensated the injured party and he has been rendered homeless and penniless as a result of the collapse of the family.”
Detective Garda Mark Durcan said Jean Lynch, 29, was waiving her anonymity in the case where Lynch, 61, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her when she was only four years old.
In her victim impact evidence, Jean Lynch stated: “I was sexually abused by my father Finbarr Lynch when I was four years old. The impact of the sexual abuse has been profound and life-shattering I went to the safety of my parents’ bed after a nightmare. I woke when my father began to undress me. He then sexually abused me and carefully redressed me.
“After this abuse, I was too scared to ever go back into that bed again. I experienced terrifying nightmares and my mum would ask me to come into their bed but it was no longer my safe place.
“Even at this young age, I slept with a metal bar near me and would lie awake in fear as he would come home from the pub and watch me at my bedroom door. I suffered intense confusion, shame and fear. I was frozen by this fear and had no vocabulary for what has happened. I felt so alone and scared.
“Around the age of 12, I began to self-harm and continued this far into my twenties. I attempted suicide at age 19 as I could no longer endure a world in which I was scared, overwhelmed, hyper alert and consumed by sadness and loneliness.
“We both knew he was guilty but he waited until the morning of the trial to admit his guilty. I was a very broken young girl who had accepted her fate was to die by suicide. However with the immense strength, love and support of my family I have overcome this. They have stood by me unwavering. They believed me, something that not many victims experience. I would not be here if it was not for my amazing mum, siblings and partner.
“Today I am a strong woman who stands no longer a victim but as a survivor no one should feel the shame. I held the secret of such a monstrous act. I will no longer hold your secrets. I will instead stand as an example that victims of abuse can be strong, can fight back and hand back their shame to their abusers.”
Lynch said after his plea of guilty last week: “I really feel I am so sorry for what happened. I cannot ever begin to understand the hurt that I caused. My job was to protect her. I did not. I am so ashamed of that. I just have no idea how this happened.”
The sexual assault occurred at an address in Glanmire. The address for Lynch on his charge sheet was Pouladuff Road, Cork.
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