A man who began sexually abusing his step-daughter before her First Holy Communion has been jailed for ten years.
The man (70), who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, was convicted by a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of 72 counts of indecent assault which occurred on dates between October 31, 1973 and August 24, 1979.
He was aged 25 and the child was aged six when the attacks began.
Judge Elma Sheahan said it was difficult to overstate the levels of fear and anxiety experienced by a child subjected to this level of abuse.
She said the attacks had had a devastating effect on the woman, who believed the abuse had also affected her ability to be a mother to her own children.
The judge noted the maximum penalty for indecent assault was set at two years at the time of the offending. She said she believed this sentencing range did not meet the seriousness of the offending and she would take the exceptional step of imposing consecutive sentences.
Having noted mitigation of a good work history and a good family life in recent years. Judge Sheahan imposed consecutive sentences of 14 years on a number of counts. She then set a final sentence of ten years.
In her victim impact statement, which was read out in court, the woman said she had to run away from Dublin at the age of 16 due to the abuse the man inflicted.
She said “I can say with 200% I have never been a child” as her childhood had been taken away from her. She said that the abuse had “scarred me forever and will never go away”.
Sergeant Ronan McMorrow told Diana Stuart BL, prosecuting, that the first instance of abuse occurred before the victim's First Holy Communion when she was seven years old.
Sgt McMorrow said the victim was subjected to four different types of sexual abuse.
The accused was in a long-term relationship with the victim's mother and though they were never married, he was effectively her step-father. The abuse came to an end when the victim was around 13 years old.
His only other previous convictions are for drunk driving.