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Man jailed for raping his stepsons hundreds of times

“Some people had cereal for breakfast, I seemed to be molested for breakfast.”

A WICKLOW MAN who raped and sexually assaulted two of his stepsons hundreds of times over a ten year period has been sentenced to 21 years in prison with the final seven suspended.

The 51-year-old, who was the victims’ mother’s husband, also had his friend sexually abuse one of the boys and abused both of them in front of another male relative. He sometimes made the boys commit incest with each other.

On handing down the sentence, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said “There was harrowing evidence of industrial quantities which had a profound and long lasting effect on both boys.”

He said both victims gave “sad and moving evidence” and “the effect of the crimes and the resulting damage has been permanent and irreparable for both.”

“Whatever sentence I give is an inadequate reflection of the horrors of the abuse,” said Mr Justice Hunt.

One of the boys told the court he didn’t not know how many times the accused abused him.

“It seemed like millions of time,” one victim said. “Some people had cereal for breakfast, I seemed to be molested for breakfast.”


The victims have told the court they wish to waive their anonymity so their step-father can be named publicly. However, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said the anonymity orders remain in place for the time being but that a formal application can be made to have the restrictions lifted at a later date.

The man pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 165 counts of rape and sexual assault against one boy and 40 similar offences against his brother between 1993 and 2003 at his Wicklow home.

During interviews with gardaí he accepted that he was a “paedophile rapist” and described his offending as “shameful, horrendous, appalling, diabolical”.

Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, said his client wished to express his “deepest, sincere and profound sorrow” to the victims.

He said as a child the man had himself being subjected to widespread and wholesale sexual abuse from people in his own peer group and from people in positions of trust. He said this had skewed the moral line that would normally be “naturally instilled” in a person growing up.

Hell on earth

In powerful victim impact reports the victims outlined the effects of the abuse. The elder victim, who is now aged in his thirties, said he has been left with no confidence in himself. His brother said he is living now what can only be described as “hell on earth”.

The elder victim went to gardaí last year and told them he had been abused since the age of nine when the accused moved in with them. It began with the man masturbating the victim and having the child do the same to him.

The man would do this every time he got the chance and it could occur up to three of four times a day. It became so frequent that the accused didn’t need to say anything, he would simply nod or gesture when he wanted to abuse the child.

He then progressed to raping the boy anally and orally. At one point the boy decided to kill himself but stopped because he “didn’t want him (the defendant) to win.”

On one occasion he brought the boy to his friend’s house where both he and his friend molested him. The boy said he saw the accused smile at his friend during the abuse “as if to say ‘look what I can get him to do.’”

On another date he abused both boys in front of another relative before having sex with the relative and telling the children that “this is how it’s done.”

The elder victim told gardaí that he always abused him when his mother was in the house. “I think he used to get off on the thrill of nearly getting caught,” he said.

He said the man would have the two boys perform sexual acts on each other while he watched. The accused also told the elder boy he could get him money if he was willing for perform such acts with other men.

“I used to feel sorry for (the accused),” the eldest victim told gardaí. “I used to think it happened to him and now it was happening to me.”

Go and play

The man began abusing the younger victim from when he was seven years old. He said this started with masturbation and led to rape as he got older. He said he felt like he was abused “millions of times.” Sometimes afterwards the man would give him money and tell him to go and play.

The accused was arrested last year and made admissions in interview but initially denied rape. He said the abuse started because he was having marriage difficulties and was not having sex with his wife.

Mr Justice Hunt ordered that the defendant be placed under the supervision of the Probation Services for five years post-release, undergo rehabilitation and to have no contact whatsoever, directly or indirectly with the two boys.

Comments have been disabled as neither the victims nor convicted have been named.

Conor Gallagher and Nicola Donnelly