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A man convicted of raping his sister-in-law threatened to sue her for defamation when she spoke about abuse

The man was 59 when he raped his 15-year-old sister-in-law.

Image: Lasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

A LAOIS MAN convicted of raping his sister-in-law when she was a child later threatened to sue her for defamation after she told somebody in his family about his abuse.

The woman told the Central Criminal Court that she had been an “innocent and naive” 15-year-old before the rape and that she has spent the last 35 years with no confidence, no self-esteem and no self-worth.

Reading from her victim impact statement in court, she described how she had no prior knowledge of sex the day the man (59) raped her.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the woman’s identify, had pleaded not guilty to rape at his home on a date between October 1983 and July 1984. He was convicted of the offence following a trial in May. He will be sentenced at a later date.

He had also pleaded not guilty to two further counts of sexual assault of the same woman, but was acquitted of these charges.

The court heard the woman disclosed the rape to two of her siblings prior to 2004, to a doctor in 2013 and to a member of the man’s extended family at a charity function in 2014.

After this last disclosure, the woman received a solicitor’s letter from the man threatening legal action for defamation.

She made her garda statement about the rape that day and the man was arrested later that year. He co-operated during interview but denied the allegations and denied showing pornographic material to his then teenage sister-in-law.

Kerida Naidoo SC, defending, submitted to Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy that he was “not in a position to offer as mitigation a change in (his client’s) attitude”.

At the sentence hearing, the woman said she was taking back a little bit more control, self worth and self confidence.

“Most importantly I am taking back a little bit of me. Today I am not longer a victim of child sexual abuse. I am a survivor,” the woman said.

A garda told Pauline Walley SC, prosecuting, that the then 15-year-old had been babysitting at the man’s home when he beckoned her into his bedroom, saying he had something to show her.

He took out pornographic magazine, showed her sexually explicit photographs and had a “leery” expression on his face when he asked her what she thought. He then pushed the teenager onto the bed and raped her.

The woman later recalled that the man had been very aggressive, that he had been grunting and his face was contorted during the incident.

She was too afraid to tell anybody at the time, but a few years later went to her mother and disclosed the rape.

The garda told Walley that the mother “shut her down and dismissed her completely”. The mother expressed regret about this while giving evidence at the trial, saying “they were different times”.

The garda agreed the man has been heavily involved in his community and has worked since he was 15-years-old.

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Aoife Nic Ardghail

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