Brute who sexually abused his daughter nearly every day for ten years jailed
A man who sexually abused his daughter nearly every day for ten years has been sentenced to eight years with one suspended.
The Central Criminal Court heard the victim said she felt like an animal the day her father cornered her in a shed and tried to have sex with her.
Her 50-year-old father has since been diagnosed a paedophile by a psychiatrist.
The court heard that he began abusing his daughter when she was five years old and after he developed an addiction to pornography.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt ordered the man be registered as a sex offender. He suspended the final year of the eight year sentence for three years and ordered that the accused undergo 18 months post release supervision
The now 20-year-old victim first disclosed the abuse to her school chaplain when she was 17 years old. She said she always felt different from others and was bullied in school.
She read in her victim impact statement that a father was supposed to care for and protect his children, but he “treated me like an object that he could use and control”. She said as a child she felt she was unable to turn to anyone, “even after I realised what was going on”.
Recalling an incident of attempted rape when she was “cornered” in a cattle shed, she said; “I remember thinking he treated the animals better than me. I told him I felt like a chained up animal.”
The 50-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to two attempted rapes and ten sexual assaults on dates between 2003 to 2012 at the family farm and other areas under the family holding in County Sligo. He has no previous convictions.
The court heard that the man would often wake the girl up from her sleep and bring her into his bedroom where he would sexually assault her in the bed he shared with his wife. The girl recalled that on one occasion her baby sister, who would sleep in a cot in their parent's room, was awake and watching them.
The man would also watch the girl while she showered. He always abused her after asking her to come out and help him on the family’s farm with the evening chores.
Dara Foynes BL, prosecuting, told Mr Justice Hunt that the ten counts were representative of 37 counts. She said the girl claimed that he abused her every day and the father admitted to gardaí that it happened at least two or three times a week.
The man made immediate admissions to a social worker in March 2014 and immediately left the family home.
The girl said the fact that her younger sisters still didn't know why their father left was very upsetting for her and she felt responsible for breaking up the family.
The man told gardaí during interview that he took advantage of the close relationship he had with his daughter. “I had a thing in my mind that I was giving her comfort,” he said.
Mr Justice Hunt said he had concerns about the man being diagnosed as a paedophile following an assessment by Doctor Brenda Wright.
He asked John Paul Shortt SC, defending, if such a person could ever be rehabilitated, having said he would be worried about allowing person with that diagnosis back into the community. Counsel replied that he believed “nobody was beyond redemption”.
The man took the stand and addressed his daughter in court saying that a “proper apology was well overdue”. He said he understood that a prison sentence was for him to surrender to his past failings and his crimes, which he said his poor daughter was the victim of.
Mr Justice Hunt told him that the victim, the man's eldest daughter was “the very obvious victim but there are other victims in the family too”.
Mr Shortt said a psychiatrist report from Dr Wright concluded that his client's “descent into depravity ran in tandem with an addiction that he developed into watching pornography and sex channels”. She concluded her report by giving the diagnosis that the man was a paedophile who was sexually attracted to prepubescent girls.
Mr Shortt said his client had led “an otherwise blameless life” before the appalling offences began. He asked that the court take into account that the man always admitted “the sick and perverted behaviour over a protracted period”.
The investigating garda told Ms Foynes that the family were from a remote area in County Sligo and the abuse occurred in the family home, in sheds and outbuildings on the farm and in sheds in another area a short distance from their house.
The girl told gardaí she remembered her father asking her when she in primary school if she knew how babies were made.
She said her father would specifically ask that she help him on the farm at night and he would molest her in the sheds after their work.
She said she would be made lay down on the hay and he would be naked from the waist down with his trousers and underwear down at his boots. She would have her bottoms and underwear off and he would digitally penetrate her, while making her masturbate him.
She recalled another incident when the rest of the family went on a fishing trip and her father asked that she be allowed stay with him. He got her to sit on top of him and she felt his penis at her vagina.
On another occasion, after her Junior Cert, she again remembered him trying to have sex with her in one of the sheds on the farm.
The woman read her victim impact statement in which she said “as a young girl growing up I was abused nearly every day by my father”.
She said that every day of her childhood and teenage years was filled with horrific abuse and some of those memories were still alive in her mind.
She outlined incidences of abuse that she said were still very vivid. She said after being molested in her parent's bed she was sent back to her own bed where she would cry herself to sleep.
The woman said her father would be angry and forceful if she tried to stop him which she said would frighten her. She said she felt isolated at school and wondered what was wrong with her.
“He took my innocence, childhood dignity and self-worth by abusing me each day; I never felt I was my own person.” She finished her victim impact report by thanking her family, the gardaí and the teacher she disclosed the abuse to.