Sunday 18 August 2019

Man sexually assaulted sister and two nieces

A South Wexford man who pleaded guilty to 10 charges of sexual assault on two nieces and his sister has been sentenced to three and half years in prison, with the final six months suspended.

When the case came before Judge Cormac Quinn at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court, Prosecuting Counsel Ms Sinead Gleeson told the court that the two nieces were prepared to wave anonymity so the accused could be named. However, the investigating garda said the third victim - the defendant's sister - did not wish to wave anonymity and did not wish to have the defendant named, meaning reporting restrictions applied.

Ms Gleeson said the offences occurred between January 1, 1998, and March 31, 2000.

The investigating garda told the court the three victims made statements to him regarding alleged sexual abuse by the defendant, who lived with his mother at the time of the offences. One of the nieces used to visit her grandmother (defendant's mother) every three to four weeks from the age of about seven years. The defendant, said the prosecuting garda, would ask her to take her clothes off from the waist down, asking her to lie down on the bed, so he could sexually assault her.

He court was also told that the defendant would strip naked in front of her and prance around.

The prosecuting garda said the second victim, also a niece of the defendant, was eight to nine years of age at the time of the offences, when a similar pattern of offending occurred.

Regarding the third victim, a sister of the defendant who was in her 20s when the offences occurred, the prosecuting garda said the defendant would visit her bedroom and physically interfere with her.

The garda said the defendant was subsequently arrested and interviewed. He fully co-operated with the investigation and made full admissions.

One of the victims spoke of her emotional feelings following the sexual abuse of her uncle in a victim impact statement read into the court by Prosecuting Counsel Ms Gleeson.

'Being sexually abused for a number of years has its short-term and long-term effects. During the abuse, I was in a state of confusion, humiliation, shame, constant anxiety and so much more. So many emotions for a child to go through, emotions a child should not know, emotions I did not know how to deal with.

'It was so bad that for a long time, I would take a bucket to bed with me every night to get sick. I didn't make myself sick, the anxiety did.'

The second victim spoke of the sexual abuse while she visited her grandmother.

'The abuse happened at my grandmother's house while I was sleeping. I was extremely scared at that time. Even thinking about it now, it still gets me into that frame of mind I was in when it happened.

'Ever since the abuse I was afraid to visit my grandmother's house as my uncle lived with her too. I had to always make up some excuse just so I wouldn't go there.

'Even then, when I would finally visit my grandmother I would be so afraid in the house. I would remember what happened and what room. It would send me into a fit of panic, especially, if I was in a room by myself.'

Judge Quinn said he took into account the complex situation, the aggravating circumstances and the effect it had on the victims who were extremely frightened and the long-lasting effects it's having on both of them. He also took into account the age of two of the victims.

In passing sentence, Judge Quinn sentenced the defendant to two years in prison on four of the charges relating to one of the victims, with three sentences of three and half years, on three further charges, with the sentences to run concurrently.

In relation to the second victim on a single charge he imposed a sentence of two years, while relating to the third victim he imposed three consecutive sentences of two years, all the sentences to run concurrently, with the final six months suspended.

The judge also ordered the defendant not to contact any children or make contact with any children through social media or directly. The defendant has also been placed on the Sex Offenders Register.

Wexford People