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07 Aug 2022

Midlands man who was a teenager when he sexual abused his younger siblings jailed

Midlands man who was a teenager when he sexual abused his younger siblings jailed

Midlands man who was a teenager when he sexual abused his younger siblings jailed

A Midlands man who sexually abused his younger sister and brother when he was a teenager has been jailed for four and a half years.

The court heard the man from Westmeath,who committed the offences when he was aged between 14 and 18 years old, had a “dysfunctional family background”.

The now 31-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect his siblings' identities, pleaded guilty to anal and oral rape of his younger brother on dates between January 2007 and January 2008.

He also pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual assault and one attempted sexual assault of his younger sister on dates between April 2004 and January 2007. He has no previous convictions.

All offences occurred in the family home and came to light in 2018 when the man's brother disclosed the abuse to his family. His sister then also disclosed that she too had been abused by the man. He was arrested and made admissions to gardaí.

Mr Justice Alex Owens noted in his sentencing remarks that there had been serious and long-lasting effects on both victims as a result of the abuse.

He noted that most of the abuse occurred while the man was under 18 years old and his level of culpability was reduced by his young age and the lack of appreciation of the harm caused to the victims, although this lessened as the man got older.

The judge took into account the fact that the man had a difficult time growing up and that he led a blameless life since and was in responsible employment up to when the offences came to light.

He noted the man's remorse, which was evident by his admissions and guilty pleas, with the pleas in relation to the offences against his brother being earlier than in the case of his sister.

The judge said the earlier the plea, the greater the mitigation as it took away the worry for the victims that they would not be believed and made room for other trials. He said he was willing to suspend a small portion of the sentence to encourage rehabilitation.

Mr Justice Owens imposed a sentence of five years imprisonment with the final six months suspended on strict conditions. He ordered three years post-release supervision.

In her victim impact statement, the man's sister wrote she was not a small child or a victim anymore and was “here for justice.”

She outlined the effects the abuse has had on her life, including difficulties with relationships and intimacy, post traumatic stress and suicidal thoughts.

His brother outlined the psychological effects the abuse had on him and his relationships, including feelings of anger, shame and depression. He said it ruined his childhood and impacted his family life.

The accused man took the stand during his sentence hearing and apologised to his victims who were not in court. “I wanted to apologise face to face,” he said, “I just hope they can move forward and every day gets better for them.”

“I can't take back what I did,” he said. “I offer an apology. I don't know if that's enough. I will never forget what I did until the day I die.”

A local garda sergeant told Kerida Naidoo SC, prosecuting, that the abuse of his sister mainly involved the rubbing of his penis against the outside of her vagina. Her first recollection of abuse was when she was eight and he was 16, but the man's admissions put it earlier.

The incidents happened several times over a number of years until she was 11 years old when the accused grabbed her as she was going into her bedroom.

She managed to get away and that was the last time. She said she never mentioned it and he behaved as if nothing had happened.

The oral and anal rape of his then 9 year old brother started later but overlapped slightly with that of his sister. His brother had a “breakdown” in the house in 2018 and disclosed what had happened to him. His sister was contacted, she came to comfort him and disclosed what had happened to her.

The man was arrested and made admissions in relation to what he had done.

John Shortt SC, defending, said up to the time the offending came to light, the man had been gainfully employed and in a relationship, both of which have now ended. He has not come to any adverse attention while on bail.

He said his client had a dysfunctional family background which had thrust him into the forefront of trying to cope with things at home that he did not have the maturity or ability to do.

Counsel asked the court to take into account the offences were committed during his teenage years, that the defendant took the appropriate course of action and did so at an early stage.

He said reports before the court show the accused man has empathy with his victims, as well as  remorse  and  understanding and that he had tried to give a background as to why the offending occurred.

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