A woman who was repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted by her brother 35 years ago has described how he abused her with a “smirk” on his face, despite her continued pleas for him to stop.
The 49-year-old Meath man, who cannot be named to protect his victim, was found guilty by a Central Criminal Court jury of four counts of raping and three counts of sexually assaulting his sister at various locations between 1983 and 1990.
The man was found not guilty of one count of sexually assaulting his sister in their father's car in 1982. He had pleaded not guilty to all charges. The jury returned the unanimous verdicts after six hours of deliberations following a week-long trial in January.
At his sentence hearing today, the victim said her brother ruined her teenage years and she lived in constant fear of when he would next rape her.
In a victim impact statement read out on her behalf by Detective Garda Jennifer Donovan, the woman said: “No matter how many times I told you to stop, said no, pushed you away from me...told you that a brother shouldn't do this to me, you continued to abuse and rape me with that smirk on your face.
“I blamed myself because I was not strong enough to stop you but it wasn't my fault. You did this.”
The court heard how the woman kept the abuse secret from her family for years, but revealed it after her brother confronted her at a family meeting.
She had been objecting to their sick mother going to live with him when he asked her what her problem was. She then told the assembled family members about the abuse.
“It was your arrogance (confronting) me that caused me to blurt out what you did to me,” the woman said. “Although it wasn't planned, I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.”
“You were wrong. I was believed. And when the jury found you guilty, I knew I was believed again.”
The man, who is married with children, maintains his innocence. Justice Deirdre Murphy noted the first step towards rehabilitation was acknowledging guilt.
“That's the problem,” the judge said. She adjourned the matter for sentencing on March 20.
The trial heard that the abuse took place when the woman was aged between approximately 14 and 20 years old. Her brother is a year older than her.
The woman described how her brother assaulted her in fields and wooded areas near her home, in a shed and in the family house. She said the abuse started with her brother touching and tickling her and later progressed to rape.
The woman described one incident during which she was on the phone when her brother came into the house and raped her in the hall. On another occasion, after she had left school, he raped her in her bed during the day.
The woman said she was too afraid to confide in her parents and that her brother told her repeatedly that no-one would believe her and she would be “put out” of the family home.
“I didn't know how to tell somebody,” she said. “He was my brother - brothers shouldn't do things to their sisters.”
The woman said the “final straw” came on her 21st birthday, when an extended member of the family revealed he knew what her brother was doing to her and propositioned her for sex.
“It was like a stab in the back,” the woman said of that incident. “That night I thought, (my brother) is never going to rape me, sexually abuse me, have his penis near me ever again.”
The woman eventually confided in her future husband about the abuse, but did not tell the rest of her family until 2011. The man was charged in 2015 and denied all allegations of wrong-doing to gardaí.
Defence barrister, Damien Colgan SC, said his client was a young offender at the time of much of the offending. The court heard he was aged between 15 and 21 when he abused his sister.
“As a nearly 50-year-old man, he has a bleak life ahead of him,” Mr Colgan said.