A 36-year-old Cork man who sexually abused his sister during their childhood and teens has been given a five-year sentence.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted in July at the Central Criminal Court, sitting in Cork, of 23 counts of sexual assault against his younger sister at homes the family resided in between 1991 and 1997.
The abuse began when the man, who has learning difficulties, was 14 and his sister was 10. It continued until he was 20 and his victim was 16.
Mr Justice Paul Carney declared the man a sex offender and said he had “forfeited the most fruitful source of mercy and mitigation” because he had not pleaded guilty. He took into account the “grave nature” of the offence, the impact on the victim, the multiplicity of offences and the age of the victim before he sentenced the man to five years.
Mr Justice Carney suspended the final year, having taken into account the man’s lack of previous convictions, good employment history, and youth at the time, on condition that he stay away from “the victim in perpetuity, save with her consent”. He also ordered that he undergo 18 months’ post-release supervision.
Detective Garda Colman Murphy told Tom Creed SC, prosecuting, the victim used to play in her brother’s bedroom and when she was 10 he began to ask her to take her clothes off.
She said he would rub her vagina, initially without penetration, and she would try to stop him but he kept going. The abuse progressed and became more frequent, escalating to digital penetration of her vagina when she was 12.
His sister recalled the pain of the abuse and how he would come into her room at night to put his hands inside her pyjamas. Later, her brother would also kiss her and give her “love bites”.
He also began exposing his penis and putting her hand on it to force her to masturbate him.
The now 33-year-old victim said in her victim impact report that her childhood memories were about removing her clothes and being touched in inappropriate areas.
She said the abuse had occurred in her home, where she should have been safest. She said her mother had explained to her about touching but when she told her what was happening, nothing permanently changed.
“My mother was supposed to protect me. Where does that leave me?” she asked.
She said she washes twice a day because she never feels clean and wears makeup because she feels she looks like her brother without it.
Michael Bowman SC, defending, said the man wanted to apologise to his sister, and had written a letter apologising to her for his “foolish deeds” and wrote that he had taken “the coward’s choice” by fighting the case. He said he hopes she will now have a chance to start the healing process.
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