A teenager who used a younger relative as “a puppet” for his sexual gratification was jailed for two years.
The victim said the accused could not have been in any doubt about the fact that she was nothing but a child when it started — she said she still had some of her milk teeth and her room was completely covered in pink Hello Kitty posters.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a sentence of four years on the accused, with half of it suspended, at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The woman said in her victim impact statement: “To everyone in this courtroom, I am just another case waiting to be marked as ‘done’ on the agenda.
"I am a voice, disguised in anonymity with no face to pair it with. But to one person, I was much more — I was a puppet for his sexual gratification. I was a happy-go-lucky child who was manipulated and used, sacrificing my innocence and sacrificing my childhood.
“My favourite TV show wasand I had my bedroom decorated in Hello Kitty with the colour pink touching every corner.
"I couldn’t do multiplication or division to save my life and I still had not lost all my baby teeth.
"I think anyone with a functioning mind can agree that a child of this age and maturity should not be exposed to actions of this nature.”
She said that when she made her complaint, some members of the wider family made her feel she did something wrong.
“I was left feeling like I was the one that was tearing my family apart,” she said.
Detective Garda Bríd Norris said the 21-year-old defendant pleaded guilty to 33 counts of sexual assault covering a period when the victim was aged between nine and 13 and he was aged between 14 and 18.
The detective said the accused was an older relative and there was a very clear breach of trust where the locations for the abuse included his house and her house.
They were both into gaming and played Playstation together. The sexual assaults began with him touching her breasts and private areas outside her clothing, and increased in severity.
“As it progressed, he said he would kill himself if she did not carry out sexual acts on him. He admitted he took advantage of her trust and pushed her boundaries until the sexual assaults became (what he described as) normal and everyday,” said Det Garda Norris.
It went on three or four times a week for three years and somewhat less because of certain domestic arrangements in the fourth year.
Niamh Stewart, defence barrister, said the defendant was a person of tender years himself when the abuse commenced.
“He apologised. He took responsibility and said nothing he can ever say would ever make it right,” said Ms Stewart on his behalf.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said the defendant’s guilty plea was a total, public vindication of the injured party as it was an admission to the world that he was guilty and she had done absolutely nothing wrong.
The judge said he could not see how the identification of the defendant would not lead to the victim’s identity becoming known so he was prohibiting the naming of either party.