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Cavan man who raped his 16-year-old niece jailed for six and a half years

The woman said her uncle had “degraded and crushed” her instead of protecting her.

Image: William Murphy via Flickr

A CAVAN MAN who raped his 16-year-old niece has been jailed for six and a half years.

The Central Criminal Court heard how the victim’s mother did not go to gardaí when told of the abuse and her family “went mad” when they found out the girl herself eventually made a complaint.

The girl told the court how her “world had crumbled” when her parents separated and her uncle had pretended he was there to help before plying her with alcohol and sexually abusing her.

She said in her victim impact statement that her uncle had “degraded and crushed” her instead of protecting her.

The now 49-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect his victim’s identity, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape, oral rape and sexual assault at locations in Co Cavan on dates in early 1997. He was 31 years old at the time of the offences.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy noted the man had been in a position of trust and that the victim had “suffered grievously” and gone through great personal difficulty.

“The offences were of an obnoxious nature, one uses these terms as Justice Carney said, until one meets something more serious and runs out of adjectives,” he said.

Mr Justice McCarthy noted the man’s guilty plea and the fact that he was at low risk of re-offending. He imposed a six and a half year sentence and ordered three years post release supervision.

Haunted by fact he was still ‘out there’ 

A local garda sergeant told Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, that the man twice forced the girl to perform oral sex on him in his car. He also got into bed beside the girl and touched her breasts outside her clothes on two occasions.

On a later occasion she was raped in a bedroom by her uncle who had got on top of her and forced her legs apart.

The girl told her mother what had happened. The mother did not consider reporting the incidents to to gardaí and thought it was better for her daughter to get on with her life. The girl also told a number of friends and her boyfriend before reporting the matter to gardaí in 2011.

Her uncle was arrested and initially substantially denied the allegations but made some comments that could be described as admissions, the garda said.

The woman said her family “went mad” when she made a statement to gardaí in 2011 as they did not want it to come out but she said she had been haunted by the fact he was still “out there” and could do it again. She said:

I want to be able to look at myself and say I did all I could.

Grainne McMorrow SC, defending, said the accused man was utterly ashamed of himself and she was instructed to formally apologise in open court for the “awfulness, horror and misery” he had inflicted on her. She said his niece had deserved better from him.

She said he had been dependent on alcohol for a prolonged period and had a very poor recall of events. She said he had addressed his issues with alcohol and was now in a different place.

She said his “appalling behaviour” had been within a very narrow time frame of two months with no recurrence in the years since. She said he had been assessed at low risk of re-offending.

Read: Bill Cosby accuser says she receives hate mail from ‘diehard fans and rape apologists’>

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Fiona Ferguson

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