Leah Farrell
Central Criminal Court

Woman who was sexually assaulted as a child asks court not to jail her father

The man was sentenced to two years in prison with the final eighteen months suspended.

A WOMAN WHO was sexually assaulted by her father as a child has told a court she forgives him and does not want him to serve any more jail time for his crime against her.

The 61-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect his daughter’s anonymity, pleaded guilty to one count of sexually assaulting her at their Wexford family home on an unknown date between 1994 and 1996.

She was aged between 10 and 12 at the time.

The man is currently serving an 11 year sentence after he was found guilty by a jury of 20 counts of raping his sister-in-law in the 1970s and 1980s following a Central Criminal Court trial in 2020.

In a victim impact statement which she read out at his sentence hearing last week, the man’s daughter thanked him for confessing his sins and saving the family from further trauma.

She said she knew someone had broken her father’s trust in the past and she wanted to break the cycle of intergenerational abuse.

“I know you would be proud of me if you knew my heart and my faith,” she said. She asked that her father not be given a further prison sentence “now he has confessed his crimes”.

“I wish him no further sentence,” she said.

The man wept as his daughter read her statement before telling her: “I love you. God bless you. I’m so sorry.”


Passing sentence today, Mr Justice Paul McDermott highlighted the victim’s enormous strength and stated that she is an impressive lady who has shown such courage throughout this process.

Justice McDermott noted the victim has displayed a high level of compassion for her father and her plea that her father not be given a further prison sentence.

The judge noted the guilty plea entered by the accused and his genuine remorse for his crime. He also said that the accused has had no criminal conviction since this offence over thirty years ago.

Justice McDermott sentenced the man to two years in prison with the final eighteen months suspended.

He ordered that the man be under the supervision of the Probation Service for three years on release, must keep the peace and be of good behaviour, and must attend all appointments and any assessments as directed by the probation services.

Justice McDermott ordered that the man must have no direct or indirect contact either by a third party or social media with the victim and her immediate family unless requested to do so by the victim.

This sentence will run consecutively to the current prison sentence that he is serving.

The evidence

A local garda told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that in 1998, the then 14-year-old girl made a complaint to gardaí that her father had sexually assaulted her when she was younger. She withdrew this complaint a year later, saying her family situation had changed.

In 2017 the woman again came forward, alongside her aunt, to say her father had sexually assaulted her.

The court heard that the assault occurred one night when the father was asleep on the couch following a row with the girl’s mother. He asked the girl to bring down his matches to him before asking her if she wanted to sleep beside him.

The girl “jumped at the opportunity” for some affection from her father, the court heard. However, he then started touching her under her underwear, which gave her a sick feeling to her stomach. She returned to her own bed shortly afterwards.

The man told his daughter: “Every father had to do this to his daughter to make sure no other man ever touched them that way,” Ms McGowan said.

When questioned by gardaí in 1998 about the allegation, the man denied he had ever sexually assaulted his daughter. He told gardaí he was very strict with his daughter and she had been “behaving inappropriately” in her teenage years.

The man was charged in 2017 with the sexual assault of his daughter, as well as the sexual abuse of his sister-in-law. He pleaded guilty to the offence against his daughter on the trial date last March.

Philipp Rahn SC, defending, said his client wished to apologise to his daughter “first and foremost” and to his family. He said the man struggled with alcohol addiction for years and had been drinking at the time of the offence.

He has no other criminal convictions apart from the offences against his sister-in-law, the court heard.

Isabel Hayes & Claire Henry