A 21-year-old Dublin man has been given a five-year sentence for having sex with his underage cousin and sexually abusing her and her younger sister at their granny’s house.
The man, who can not be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to three sex assault charges and one of defilement on dates from September 19, 2003 and November 1, 2007 when the sisters were between eight and 14 years old. He has no previous convictions.
The older sister revealed in her victim impact statement that the man had destroyed her life, broken her parents' hearts and torn the extended family apart.
She said she still can’t talk fully about the abuse, that she’d never felt so embarrassed when she had to give investigating gardaí graphic accounts of the abuse and that now she has no confidence and doesn’t feel comfortable in her body.
She said: “He (the man) should have stuck a knife in my heart and twisted it because it wouldn’t have hurt so much.”
The teenage girl described her guilt when she discovered her cousin was abusing her “innocent little sister” and said she’d spent a year in hospital because of the psychological trauma.
The girl said she wished for closure for her, her sister and her immediate family.
Mr Justice Paul Carney said the facts of the case merited a 10-year sentence but taking into account the mitigating factors and noting that rehabilitation was especially important given the age of the accused he imposed concurrent sentences totalling five years.
He ordered that the man be placed on the sex offenders register and undergo three years post release supervision.
Detective Garda Barry Murphy told Ms Cathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting, that the accused first abused the older sister at their granny’s house in 2003 when she was around 10 years old.
Det Gda Murphy said the man abused the girl’s younger sister when she was aged eight or nine years between September 2003 and 2005.
The detective garda said the man was arrested in August 2008 and admitted having sex with the older sister but claimed it was consensual.
He said he thought she would have been aged 15 or 16 at the time and didn’t accept she’d said no to his advances.
The man confirmed he’d had oral sex with the girl and that he’d started sexual activity with her when she hit puberty, though he couldn’t recall specific events.
He apologised in interview and said he hoped the older girl would forgive him someday.
Det Gda Murphy told Ms Noctor that the man also admitted sexually abusing the younger sister.
The detective garda read out this sister’s victim impact statement in court in which she too revealed that her cousin had ruined her life.
Det Gda Murphy agreed with Ms Mary Ellen Ring SC, defending, that her client admitted the abuse to the girls’ mother months before his arrest.
He agreed the man had been relieved to see the gardaí at his home in August 2008 as he knew they would be coming for him someday.
He further agreed that the man had experienced a family tragedy around the time he started the abuse but has since taken steps to address his behaviour at the Granada Institute for the rehabilitation of sex offenders.
Ms Ring submitted to Mr Justice Paul Carney that her client had gone to the centre of his own initiative and had funded his own treatment for a time.
She asked the judge to be lenient in his sentence and to consider her client’s young age at the time.
Ms Noctor confirmed that the Director of Public Prosecutions considers this case “middle of the range” in seriousness.