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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 11 November, 2019
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'Depraved': Child rapist jailed for seven years

The survivor of the attack was the man’s then-girlfriend’s younger sister, who is waiving her anonymity.

Image: Shutterstock/Semmick Photo

A MAN WHO acted on a “paedophilic sexual interest” he had in a schoolgirl has been jailed for seven years for her rape and sexual assault.

After a trial at the Central Criminal Court Kenneth McDonald (54) from Wexford town was convicted last July of rape and indecent assault of his then girlfriend’s younger sister at locations in Co Wexford on dates between January 1987 and November 1994.

The attacks began when the complainant was aged seven and had just started primary school.

McDonald had pleaded not guilty and continues to deny the offending. During his sentence hearing four people, including his partner and their daughter, took to the stand to give testimonials to his good character.

The court heard that the trial has “ripped apart” the family.

Justice Alex Owens said that it was clear from the evidence that McDonald had “a paedophilic sexual interest” in the child which left his victim terrified.

Victim impact statement

In a victim impact statement the victim, who is waiving her anonymity, told the court the abuse destroyed her childhood and has haunted her adulthood.

“I felt terrorised in my childhood bedrooms, in ways I cannot describe, my words would do no justice to the devastation it caused. My family life, my relationships, my education and my career have all suffered immensely as a result,” she said.

She described feelings of rage, fear, shame and confusion and a feeling that her body was not her own.

“My sense of self and self-worth was taken from me,” she said. She finished her statement by saying: “I may always be this victim but I am also a survivor”.

Garda Ian Doyle told the court that the first incident occurred in the summertime shortly after the victim had started primary school.

The man came into the child’s bedroom in the evening time, lay her face down on the bed and put his hand inside her clothes. He molested her, telling the child “you will enjoy it”.

On another occasion at a similar time, the man again entered the child’s room in the evening time and raped her.

Justice Owens described his actions as depraved. He said the assaults were the acts of an immature and opportunistic predator.

Sentence

After taking into consideration what he said were McDonald’s immaturity at the time and the passing of time since the offending, he set a headline sentence of eleven years.

He said the mitigating factors were McDonald’s good character since the offending. The judge said he accepted that McDonald has led the life of a person of good character since and is held in high regard.

He finalised the sentence at seven years. He said he would not suspend any of the sentence and noted that McDonald has made it clear he will not engage in therapy.

Conviction

McDonald was convicted of one count of rape at a house in Co Wexford in 1987. The jury also found him guilty of three counts of indecent assault and two of sexual assault.

The court heard the father-of-two sexually assaulted the girl in her bedroom when she was aged ten. He later molested her in his own home while she was babysitting his baby child.

The final sexual assault occurred when the victim was around 13 or 14. She was cleaning her brother’s car when McDonald came up behind her and put his hand up her shorts.

The man denies all charges. He gave evidence during the trial that he had never been upstairs in the victim’s house unless accompanied by her sister and that the victim had never babysat for them.

Setting a post release supervision period of three years Justice Owens ordered that McDonald co-operate with any Tusla recommendations around access to children.

He said the fact that the jury rejected McDonald’s evidence during the trial as lies is evidence of bad character. But he said the court is not entitled to take this, or his refusal to accept the verdict, as aggravating factors.

McDonald’s long-term partner told the court that she always found McDonald to be “a very loving man”. His daughter said that while growing up she never experienced any inappropriate behaviour from her father.

A friend told the court “Ken is a loving man, helpful, with a great heart”. He said he is astonished by the evidence of the offences and said the jury verdict “doesn’t match his character”.

Another friend told the court that she couldn’t think of anything negative to say about McDonald and described him as “very kind, funny, generous”. These character statements were given at a hearing last Monday and a number of written testimonials were handed into the court.

At that hearing Justice Owens adjourned sentencing to today.

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About the author:

Declan Brennan & Brion Hoban

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