A Sligo man has been sentenced to 14 years for the repeated rape and sexual abuse of his stepdaughter from the time she was just four years old.
The now 17-year-old victim, who reported the abuse to gardaí in Jul 2011, told officers the man raped her the night her grandmother died and when she came home early during her Junior Certificate exams.
She stated in her victim impact report that she was very close to her grandmother and could not separate the memory of her death from that rape.
The 36-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the teenager, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 11 sample charges of rape, oral rape, and sexual assault from 2000 to Jul 2011.
He was registered a sex offender and has been on remand in custody since he pleaded guilty just before his trial last July. He has no previous convictions.
Mr Justice Paul Carney said he had taken into account the “inherent gravity of the offence”, the age of the victim when the offending commenced, the breach of trust, “the multiplicity of offences”, the fact it extended over a decade, the constant threat of “consequences” if the offending was revealed, and the impact it had on the victim.
He sentenced the man to 14 years in prison, backdated to when he was first remanded, before suspending the last four years taking into account his plea of guilty and lack of previous convictions.
The man was ordered to “stay away from the victim in perpetuity” and carry out 18 months of post-release supervision.
A local garda told Paul O’Higgins, prosecuting, that the victim reported that the abuse began with her step-father touching her body, including her vagina, from the age of four.
There was a constant threat behind the abuse and the girl was warned that there “would be consequences if anything was revealed”.
The teenager told gardaí that she was first raped in her first year of secondary school and recalled other similar incidences on the night of her grandmother’s wake and during her Junior Certificate exams.
In 2011, the teenager told her stepfather she “wasn’t having it anymore” and confided in a neighbour who accompanied her to a Garda station to report the abuse.
The teenager left the family home in 2011 and has been in full-time foster care since.
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