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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 0°C
Sasko Lazarov/

Father of girl raped by teenage cousin criticises 'chronic' underfunding of child sexual abuse services

The girl’s father was speaking at the sentencing of his 16 year-old nephew.

THE FATHER OF a young girl who was raped by her cousin has criticised the “chronic lack” of government funding for a charity that supports victims of child sexual abuse.

The girl’s father was speaking at the sentencing of his 16 year-old nephew, who admitted sexually assaulting and raping his cousin on dates between December 2017 and May 2019 when she was aged between eight and nine and the perpetrator was aged 13 and 14.

Lawyers for the accused told the Central Criminal Court that a Probation Services assessment identified that the boy’s pathway to offending was the viewing of adult pornography on his mobile phone at an early age.

Brendan Grehan SC said that there is “an epidemic in it’s own right of young boys accessing pornography and then acting it out in inappropriate ways”.

The abuse emerged in May 2019 when the victim became upset one day and told her mother that her cousin had touched her. Gardaí were called in and child specialist interviewers spoke to the girl.

When the boy’s parents asked him about the allegations, he admitted that he had shown her videos of adult pornography and he became upset and made to try to stab himself in the stomach.

He was crying and kept telling his parents: “I’m guilty, I’m a paedophile and the guards should just lock me up”.

The girl told gardaí that the boy would force her to engage in sexual acts with him and said she didn’t like it and “it wasn’t nice”.

She said sometimes the boy would get cross if she said she didn’t want to do things and he would tell her “you have to, there’s no way of getting out of it”.

She said that she had wanted to be his friend but that sometimes he would be very strict and “horrible” towards her.

Referring to her cousin she told gardaí: “I’m really angry at him but I still love him”.

The boy pleaded guilty to the rape of the girl at his home in Co Dublin and to sexual assault by engaging with oral sex with her at her home in another county.

He also pleaded guilty to causing a child to watch sexual activity.

Lack of government funding

In his victim impact report, the victim’s father said he wished to thank gardaí and the CARI Foundation for their support and help.

He said because of the “chronic lack of government funding”, CARI has a long waiting list and it was 15 months before his daughter could get an appointment.

He said it is “a sorry reflection of modern Ireland” that the government cannot give more support to such organisations.

He said that in May 2019, he learned that “an evil monster” had groomed his little girl and made her perform unspeakable vile acts against her will.

He said he and his wife now realised the reason for the erosion they had already observed in their daughter’s sense of fun and confidence.

He said during a medical examination at a Sexual Assault Treatment Unit his daughter trembled with fear and she has suffered “blind panic attacks filled with terror”.

The guilty boy sat in the docks with his parents and throughout the hearing on Monday afternoon each of them could be seen crying as they listened to the evidence.

Counsel for the defence read a letter written by the boy to his cousin in which he apologised repeatedly for his actions and the resultant harm.

“I took advantage of you and abused that. You must hate me. That’s ok. I hope you are getting support.

“I can’t put into words how much I feel ashamed. I really messed up. Every night I pray this is all a dream. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know how much pain this would cause.

“I should never have looked at those videos online. I’m miserable, not because I got caught, I deserve that, but because I have caused so much hurt.”

In a letter, the boy’s mother said she stills get angry at him for what he did and the hurt and heartbreak he has caused, but added that she is not going to abandon her son.

“I worry for him as he walks about wanting to go to sleep and never wake up,” she said.

She described him as the light and soul of our home and a caring, emotional, affectionate child.

The boy has engaged with sex offender therapy since the offending emerged and counsel for the defence outlined how his initial attempts to minimise his offending has since developed to insight of the harm he has caused.

Justice Michael White said he needed time to consider the evidence and various professional reports handed into court. He adjourned sentencing to 23 February next.