Father jailed for sexual abuse of young daughter's friends at sleepover

A Donegal father has been jailed for seven and a half years for sexually abusing three young girls in his daughter's bed while they were on sleepovers at his house.

A Donegal father has been jailed for seven and a half years for sexually abusing three young girls in his daughter's bed while they were on sleepovers at his house.

Martin McCurdy (aged 44) was convicted of the abuse by a Central Criminal Court jury last April.

His sentencing hearing heard that all three of his victims suffered from extreme emotional distress following the abuse and one girl made a “serious attempt” at suicide, damaging her liver in the process.

Another of his victims was bullied in school as a result of reporting the abuse. The court heard she was called a “whore” and a “homewrecker” by her schoolmates.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy called the offences “squalid” and “obnoxious” due to the young age of the victims. He also noted McCurdy still denies the offences and has no shown no signs of remorse.

He sentenced McCurdy to a total of seven and a half years in consecutive sentences and ordered he be added to the Sexual Offenders Register. He had reduced the sentence from 10 years after taking into account McCurdy’s work history and family support.

McCurdy of Emmet Park, Castlefinn, Co Donegal had pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexually assaulting the then 13-year-old girls on separate dates between February 2006 and January 2007 in his home.

The jury of six men and six women returned their verdicts of guilty on all counts on day six of the trial.

The court heard the girls wished to waive their right to anonymity so McCurdy could be publicly named.

Sergeant John Dorian told prosecuting counsel, Mr John O'Kelly SC, that the girls were all abused in a similar fashion. During two incidents he entered his daughter’s bedroom where the girls were sleeping and put their hand on him, making them perform a sexual act.

On another occasion he had given one of the girls and his daughter beer. After his daughter started to feel ill and went to bed, McCurdy was left alone with the victim. He took her hand and put it on himself but she fled upstairs to her friend’s room where she eventually went asleep.

The allegations came to light when one of the girls became distressed after seeing a photo of the accused and revealed to a friend what had happened to her. Later that day two of her friends also disclosed they had been abused.

Sgt Dorian said all three girls experienced emotional distress following the abuse. He said one “could not live with her abuser” and attempted suicide by taking an overdose of pills. She was hospitalised for several days afterwards.

Another victim had nightmares and would cry herself to sleep every night. She was bullied in school because she made the allegations.

Mr Peter Finlay SC, defending, said McCurdy was a lorry driver by trade with two children, one from a previous marriage. He is currently engaged to be married.

He was described as a quiet amicable man who had lived with his girlfriend and daughter before the allegations. Mr Finlay said he had complied with all his bail conditions including not having contact with his daughter.

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