Sex assault victim: My childhood was stolen from me

Christopher McCarthy: Court was told he tried to commit suicide on Carrauntoohil.

The man who sexually assaulted his niece at a This is Your Life celebration at Páirc Uí Chaoimh and later tried to commit suicide on Carrauntoohill has been jailed for five years with half suspended and placed on the sex pffenders register indefinitely.

Christopher McCarthy, aged 50, of Glendalough Park, the Lough, Cork, was described by a forensic psychiatrist as continuing to represent a risk of future paedophile offending and had shown a callous and remote attitude. In another report, a probation officer said: “There is no way to measure his paedophile tendencies because of his level of denial.”

McCarthy was convicted earlier in July of two counts of sexually assaulting his niece, Tanya Walsh, in 1984 and 1989.

He had previously pleaded guilty to one count of sexually assaulting another niece, Michelle O’Brien, in Elm Close in Wilton. Both victims wanted him named and were content to be identified publicly themselves.

McCarthy’s wife, Margaret, told the court at an adjourned sentencing hearing in July that her husband had gone to climb Carrauntoohill and he later rang her in a distressed state and said he needed help to get down the mountain, so she rang Kerry Mountain Rescue.

She later found a note in which he revealed he had taken tablets on Carrauntoohill and had planned to end his life there.

One of the two counts on which the jury found McCarthy guilty occurred at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on the night of a celebration for his brother, Gerald McCarthy, the celebrated hurler, in 1989.

Tanya Walsh said: “Christopher McCarthy came out of nowhere, he appeared on my left hand side. He asked me what I was doing. I said I was looking for my mum. We started walking along. I had a beige skirt, quite a short skirt. He placed his hand on the back of my skirt and placed his hand into the back of my knickers. He put his hand to my vagina as we walked his hand was rubbing me.”

The first count on which he was found guilty happened on Christmas Day 1984 when they were trying to get reception to watch the film Airplane on a bedroom television upstairs at her grandparent’s house and that he put his fingers in her vagina. She was aged 11 that time and 15 at the Páirc Uí Chaoimh incident.

Judge David Riordan said he found the victim impact statements for both women harrowing.

Ms Walsh said: “Christopher, you have shown no remorse towards me — you made my childhood and adulthood into a dark, painful place. I need to try and say goodbye to the memories and with help, I hope I will. I don’t think you will ever accept responsibility for all the hurt that you have caused.”

Ms O’Brien, 35, who is originally from Bishopstown and now living in Youghal, said: “When Christopher McCarthy abused me, my childhood was stolen from me, he took my innocence away — when it happened, I felt confused and scared.

“He was my godfather and my uncle and at the time that he did it, I don’t think that I even understood it was wrong — I trusted him — he was my uncle.

“In his letter, Christopher apologised to me — I do not accept his apology.

“I do no believe he is truly sorry — his apology was only to keep me quiet.

“I do not know how Christopher has been able to live with his conscience and how he has been able to say publicly all the lies he told about my family.”

While he pleaded guilty in respect of the sexual assault on Ms O’Brien, he denied the counts against Ms Walsh, necessitating a trial in which he testified and called her malicious, vindictive, and a liar.


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