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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 11 November, 2019
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Woman raped and abused by stepfather says it was 'aspect of everyday life during her childhood'

Thomas Mullarney was give jail sentences totalling 14 years with the final two suspended.

The prosecution indicated to the Central Criminal Court that the victim wished to waive her anonymity.
The prosecution indicated to the Central Criminal Court that the victim wished to waive her anonymity.
Image: PA Images

A MAYO MAN who said he suffered abuse as a resident of Ireland’s industrial schools has been jailed for 12 years for the rape and abuse of his stepdaughter.

The child was aged around six when Thomas Mullarney (61) of Cahir, Louisberg, Co Mayo first began abusing her. He continued to attack her regularly for the next decade.

The prosecution indicated to the Central Criminal Court today that the victim wished to waive her anonymity in order to have her stepfather named.

He pleaded guilty to sexual assaults at a house in Dublin on dates between October 2003 and January 2005. He also admitted rape of the child at a house in Co Mayo on two occasions in November 2011 and in September 2014.

The court heard that Mullarney would molest her while forcing her to watch adult pornography.

She was aged 13 when he raped her, after giving her wine to drink. The next day he told her he was nervous about her getting pregnant and told her to take her mother’s contraceptive pills.

The court heard that in August 2014 the woman went to her stepfather after a row with her boyfriend. He gave her tea and half a sleeping tablet and she awoke later to find him raping her.

The woman began crying and he apologised for frightening her.

After she went to gardaí in 2017 the man admitted the offending. He said he was abusing cocaine and alcohol at the time and didn’t remember all the alleged incidents but told gardaí that the victim’s account was reliable.

Mary Rose Gearty SC, defending, said her client was institutionalised by his treatment at the industrial schools in Artane and Clonmel. She said he later received compensation for the abuse and spent the money on alcohol and cocaine.

She said that a psychological assessment that placed him at a high risk of recidivism was based on his social isolation and previous abuse of drink and drugs.

The psychologist noted that while those who suffered abuse did not usually go on to abuse others, “it is a noted consequence in a minority of cases”.

Justice White said he found it difficult to understand how anyone who had undergone that horrific ordeal could visit it again on another child.

He paid tribute to the courage of the injured party and said that the only person responsible for the abuse was the perpetrator.

Victim impact statement

Reading from her victim impact statement the victim told the court that the abuse was an aspect of everyday life during her childhood. She said she was over sexualised from a very early age, including simulating sex with teddy bears and dolls.

Justice White noted the devastating effects of the abuse on the victim, who considered Mullarney to be her dad and described a special bond with him.

He said the court also had wider concerns in relation to the hallmark of making the victim feel special which he said reflected a very serious type of “grooming” on Mullarney’s part.

Justice White imposed consecutive sentences totalling 14 years and suspended the final two years on strict conditions.

Evidence

The court heard that in the first attack the man woke the child up at night and brought her downstairs and stood her in front of the television. She later told gardaí that she saw “girls kissing and touching on the television” while the man molested her.

He told her “it was nice to feel this way” and afterwards he tucked her into bed. She said she didn’t think anything was wrong because she felt safe with the man, who she viewed as her father.

In later attacks the man again made the child watch adult pornography. In one attack he gave her a dildo and left her with it and she said she tried to figure out how to use it because “she wanted to keep her dad happy”.

Mullarney has a previous conviction for a 2007 firearms offence. He received a suspended sentence of six years imprisonment.

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About the author:

Declan Brennan and Fiona Ferguson

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