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Man who raped and abused seven siblings jailed for 20 years

Man was charged with 187 counts of indecent assault and sexual assault of the seven children between 1982 and 1999
Man was charged with 187 counts of indecent assault and sexual assault of the seven children between 1982 and 1999

A farm labourer man who raped six children and molested a seventh in the same family has been jailed for 20 years.

Michael McCarville (49) began abusing the first child in 1982 when the victim was aged 10. The abuser was aged 15 himself and had begun working as a labourer on a family farm in the north of the country.

The sisters and brothers were aged as young as seven and ten when the abuse began. The attacks continued for 18 years up to 1999, taking place in farm sheds, outhouses and fields.

The Monaghan native, with an address in Longfield, Lisboduff, Cootehill, Cavan, was charged with 187 counts of indecent assault and sexual assault of the seven children between 1982 and 1999. He pleaded guilty last December to 52 sample charges including oral and anal rape.

The seven victims have agreed that although they do not wish to waive their right to anonymity, they are happy for McCarville to be named in the media.

McCarville's first victim was just 10 years old when he began sexually assaulting him. These attacks occurred up to three times a week at various locations including within the family home.

In 1983, he also began orally raping the man's 7-year-old sister. He continued to rape her for five years. At the same time McCarville was anally raping a third brother, who was aged between 10 and 12.

Victim impacts statements for the seven adult siblings were read out during a lengthy sentence hearing at the Central Criminal Court. Five of the victims read their own statements, breaking down in tears as they described the harrowing effects of the abuse.

Six of the victims were subjected to sustained and regular assaults including rapes taking place regularly on a monthly and weekly basis. A seventh sibling was sexually assaulted twice from the age of seven.

The eldest child, now aged 45, said McCarville was “a master manipulator” who split the children apart in other to control them and get what he wanted.

He described his utter shock and horror when he learned over the last two years that his four brothers and two sisters had been abused too.

“I was overpowered by an evil and disgusting man who spent his life manipulating me,” he said. He later added that he felt that “it's a miracle that we have all survived”.
Many of the victims described how the sustained and regular abuse destroyed their childhood and has blighted their adulthood.

Some of the victims described struggling with alcohol abuse in their adult life and many said they still suffered from flashbacks, depression, anxiety and fear.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said he struggled with whether McCarville should be handed down a life sentence as the offences were of the utmost seriousness, but he added that he should be given credit for his plea of guilty.

He sentenced him to 20 years in prison and ordered that he carry out five years post-release supervision.

Mr Justice McCarthy said McCarville became the employee of the victims' parents from a young age and a year later, he moved into the family home.

“He must have been treated as a family member, at least in terms of day to day matters,” the judge said, adding this made the crimes more obnoxious. He described them as being “a serious breach of trust”.

Remy Farrell SC, defending, said that his client, who assists with his local church and GAA club, had instructed him to offer an apology to the victims.

He said that since this offending ended the man has not committed any other offences.

He married and had three children and a subsequent intervention by Tusla raised no concerns regarding his own children, counsel said.

During an emotional sentence hearing five of the victims wept while reading their victim impact statements into the court record.

Tara Burns SC, prosecuting, read out the statements of the other two victims.

One brother described how in 1988 he ran to tell his mother after he saw McCarville molesting his brother in a farm shed.

“He caught me. I felt scared and confused. He told me if I told my mother, it would kill her,” he said. McCarville then began grooming this child by buying him sweets and soon began abusing him and his brother together.

He said he felt a responsibility to protect his brother from the abuse and believed by being abused himself he was doing this. He said he felt trapped and described a suicide attempt at 17.

“I got a rope and went to a big tree on the family farm. I tied the rope to a big branch and sat on the branch with the other end of the rope in my hands.

“I was crying. I was sad and angry at what was happening to me and my two brothers,” he said. McCarville found him like this and talked him down by promising not to abuse him anymore.

“Later that day he again sexually abused me and told me I was lucky he didn't tell my mother what I had done, that it would kill her,” the victim said.

He said he went to England to get away from McCarville but the man visited him at his university and sexually assaulted him again.

This victim described how he felt he was the only one in his family who wanted to talk about the abuse and that this caused massive rifts. He was the first to go to gardaí about the abuse.

He said that finding out about the extent of the child abuse was a massive shock to him. “I thought I had protected them all for years”.

He said when his first son was born he fell to pieces and began to drink heavily. “I was terrified I would be an abuser and an awful father,” he said.

He said that because of the abuse he found it challenging to participate in family life and is unable to be a loving partner and father to his own children.

This man's brother told the court that his brother “was always met with hostility” in trying to talk about the abuse. He said there was always a lot of fighting in his family growing up because their abuser “worked us against each other”.

Another man, who was abused from the age of seven, said he lived in utter fear of his parents finding out about the abuse.

“He groomed me, silenced me, manipulated me and threatened me. He used to make me feel like it was all my own doing,” he said, later adding “I grieve a grief for all the things I have lost.”

Like many of his siblings he described the difficulty in dealing with the full extent of the abuse that emerged during the garda investigation. He suffered several mental breakdowns last year and became suicidal.

The older of two sisters told how McCarville turned the children against each other. She said that she believed that he really cared for her.

“When I was seven he used and abused me to fill his own fantasies,” she said. The man first raped her orally in a farm building and told her after that she was “a good girl” and “his girl”.

McCarville later tried to vaginally rape her but was unable to. She said he was laughing and joking during this. It was then she realised this behaviour was wrong and she later reported it to someone in her school but nothing was done.

She said McCarville would call her fat and she said this has had a lasting effect on her body image and she struggles with her weight. She now feels she has no confidence or self worth.

She said the abuse ripped her family apart and nobody wanted to talk about it or face it. “We were like lost souls not knowing how to deal with it”.

She said the revelations of the abuse have turned her parents' lives upside down but said she is proud that the family have come together to deal with the impact of the legacy of the abuse.

“Since I've had the courage to tell the truth, I feel stronger and more positive,” she said.

Her younger sister said that she felt special when McCarville molested her on one occasion. He promised her she would get something special and the next day she asked him about this in front of others.

She said he looked shocked and he didn't abuse her again after this because “he realised he wouldn't get away with it”.

She said she felt like the lucky one and found it difficult to cope with the horrendous hurt and sadness caused by the horrific fallout of the abuse of her siblings.

Breaking down in tears she said: “I can't cope with all that they had to go through in their childhood and are still going through”.

The court heard that some of the boys wept when the man first raped them and they were sore for days after. He “hung” one boy across a gate to rape him and used lubricant to rape the children.

McCarville abused some of the boys together and would often perform oral sex on one boy while molesting his brother. Many of the victims said they were afraid of the man though some of them didn't know initially that what he was doing was wrong.

One victim who was 10 when the man began raping him said he began consuming alcohol at 13 and was drinking heavily at 15. He battled drink and depression throughout his 20s and still does.

He said when he was growing up his abuser would chase any girlfriends he had or take them for himself. He said he suffers flashback of the abuse to this day and becomes very angry.

The eldest sibling described one incident in 1984 when McCarville set up a date between the victim, then 12, and a young girl. The man became very annoyed afterwards because no sexual act had taken place between the couple and he proceeded to show the victim “what he should have done”.

This culminated in him anally raping the child. The victim cried out and McCarville put a pillow over his head when he was crying.

This victim described to gardaí how he had often begged the abuser to leave his younger brother alone.

He said he would cry during the abuse and beg the man to leave him alone.

The other members of the family left while the evidence relating to each sibling was given because they did not wish to hear the details of the other's abuse.

Mr Farrell said since the investigation into this offending began McCarville has reported events in his family history which has resulted in a garda investigation.