A Meath man who sexually abused three young female relatives has been jailed for 14 years.
His first victim was a cousin he raped after telling her he had something to show her in the woods. He later went on to sexually abuse two of his nieces in their grandparent’s house.
The 43-year old man, who cannot be identified to protect his victims’ identities, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to representative counts of rape, sexual assault and anal rape on dates between 1989 and 2001.
The accused was 16 when he raped his 13-year-old cousin in 1989, and was in his 20s when he abused his two nieces when they were aged about 8 and 13.
Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said the children were preyed upon. He said the effects on the victims had been devastating but they appeared to be of great resilience and determination.
He said a risk assessment of the accused placed him at moderate risk of re-offending. He noted the man had indicated his willingness to undertake courses in prison including the building better lives project directed at sex offenders. The judge imposed consecutive sentences totalling 14 years.
In her victim impact statement, the elder niece said she told her mother that the accused had been interfering with her but her mother took his word that nothing had happened.
She said her sense of family was gone and she had issues trusting people. She found it hard to connect with people and did not feel safe.
The younger niece said the abuse had a devastating impact. She said she felt a lot of anger as a teenager and looked for reasons to take it out on others. She said she felt she did not have a childhood like other children and her family was no support.
She said if it were not for her own child she felt she would be in prison now due to her anger issues.
The accused’s cousin told the court the abuse changed her life and she went off the rails before telling her mother, who believed her and got her counselling. She said the abuse had destroyed the family and turned her world upside down.
She said she had come through the other side with the support of her mother.
Roderick O’Hanlon, defending, said the accused had a good work history. He said the complaints had been made within the family at an early stage but a decision was taken not to proceed at the time so there was a considerable gap between then and coming to court.
He said the accused had accepted responsibility for the offences. He said the man was remorseful and willing to comply with any supervision orders the court makes.
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