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Alleged IRA man who raped two teenage boys at 'republican safe house' jailed for seven years

Seamus Marley had pleaded not guilty to the charges, which date back to the early 1990s.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

AN ALLEGED “IRA man” who raped two teenage boys at a “republican safe house” two decades ago has been jailed for seven years.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott said that Belfast native Seamus Marley (45) used his standing in the republican movement, a movement “well capable of clandestine killings”, to silence the victims.

Marley (45) with an address at Belfield Court, Stillorgan Road, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to charges of sexual assaulting and anally raping two boys in Co Louth on dates in the early 1990s.

After a six-day trial the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on a total of six counts of sexual assault and two counts of rape.

After hearing evidence on Monday, Mr Justice Paul McDermott remanded the man in custody. Today, he sentenced him to a number of concurrent and consecutive prison terms, amounting to a total operative sentence of seven years.

He said the case was aggravated by Marley having committed the offences on two teenagers. He said Marley used his standing in the republican movement, a movement he said was “well capable of clandestine killings”, to silence the victims.

The judge said the offences were mitigated by Marley’s lack of previous convictions, the trauma of his father’s murder, his living half his life since the offences in a positive way and in “Christian commitment” and his engaging in charitable work in Ireland and abroad.

Mr Justice McDermott said Marley has made no attempts to self-rehabilitate in relation to these offences and that the significant mitigation of a guilty plea and a sincere expression of remorse were unavailable to him.

During the trial Patrick Gageby SC, prosecuting, told the jury that the two complainants lived in a large home owned by a “dedicated republican” and that it began to be used as a “safe house”.

The jury heard that IRA volunteers would be brought to the house during the night and stay for a few days or weeks.

Detective Garda Seamus Nolan told Gageby that Marley was one of these guests in the early 1990s and that he was welcomed into the family.

The older of the two victims said that he woke up one night while on a camping trip to find Marley groping his genitals. He said that he woke up another night in the house to find Marley anally raping him.

After the incident Marley warned him off telling anyone what had happened and said he “could be found dead on a border road”.

The younger victim was given alcohol by Marley and was groped or masturbated by him on three or four occasions.

On one occasion he awoke to find Marley “sucking his penis”, Gageby told the court. Counsel said that the victim was later anally raped by Marley in a tent near the house.

Marley has no previous convictions. The court heard that he is from a large family in Belfast and that his father was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries.

During the trial, Detective Garda Nolan told John Fitzgerald SC, defending, that gardaí had no intelligence that the accused was involved in any paramilitary organisation until the complainants came forward with their allegations and that the accused had never been arrested for any “alleged subversive activities”.

Victim impact statement

In his victim impact statement, which was read out in court, the older victim said he has spent the previous 27 years living in despair and looking over his shoulder. He said he had finally reached the end of the tunnel and that his life now revolved around his wife and children.

“This is my life and I am taking it back,” the man said.

The younger victim, who also read his victim impact statement, said that as the house was beside a graveyard they had “quiet neighbours, dead ones”. He said that he had learned that it was “not the dead we should be afraid of, but the living”.

He said that Marley “preyed on me, groomed me, abused me and raped me”. He said the life he had dreamed of was in “tatters” from the moment Marley entered the house.

“Marley was always lurking in the back of my mind,” the man said. He said in the years subsequent to the abuse he suffered panic attacks and experienced a “deep depression so black” it was hard to put into words.

He said it had taken longer to reach this point than it should have as “people with power sought to protect their own interests”.

The man said that the “fabrication of stories” to discredit him made the trial so much harder. He said that if “you are right and truthful and keep shouting” then eventually someone would listen.

He said he loves his parents and does not blame them for what Marley did to him. He apologised to his wife for not being a better husband and thanked her for all she had done for him.

The man said he prayed to God that they would grow old together so that he would be able to somewhat pay her back.

Fitzgerald said that Marley has been in a relationship for 16 years and that his partner had been present in court throughout the trial. He handed in a letter from Marley’s pastor which described him as being “an excellent Christian” who possessed a “charitable spirit”.

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Brion Hoban

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