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Man who raped and sexually abused his step daughter to be sentenced

Man who raped and sexually abused his step daughter to be sentenced

A Cork man who raped and sexually abused his step daughter over a seven year period will be sentenced later this month.

The court heard the abuse ended after the girl left her family home following a rape and told her aunt what had happened. Gardai were alerted and a semen swab taken from her body tested positive for her stepfather's DNA.

The 41-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect his victim's identity, was convicted by a jury at the Central Criminal Court of 26 counts of sexual assault, two counts of attempted rape and 64 counts of raping the girl between May 2008 and November 2015.

Almost all of the offences took place in the family home in Cork when the child was aged between nine and 15 years old. The jury took just under four hours to return the guilty verdicts in March.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy adjourned finalisation of the case until May 29 next after hearing the evidence to allow her reflect on an appropriate sentence.

A local detective garda told Marjorie Farrelly SC, prosecuting, that the abuse tended to occur in the accused man's bedroom and coincided with the child being given money for the cinema or swimming or being released from being grounded.

It progressed from the child initially being forced to masturbate her stepfather, to an attempted rape when the family were on holiday. Later the accused man would rape her two to three times per week at the family home.

The court heard that after being raped by her step-father on one occasion in November 2015 the girl left the house and went to her aunt's home. She was very upset and disclosed what had happened.

Her mother was informed and the girl was brought first to gardai and then to a sexual assault treatment unit where a semen swab taken from her body tested positive for her stepfather's DNA.

The accused man was arrested and denied sexually abusing the girl. He maintained that his semen could have come from the bed where he said he had sex with the girl's mother.

The young woman outlined in her victim impact statement that the abuse had a “devastating, profound and far reaching” effect. She said it had impacted every part of her life and she continued to be held back “because of this horrible thing I went through.”

She said the impact had been “invasive and omnipresent” and had made her nervous around men.

She said she lost confidence and self esteem but had the good fortune to have supportive family and friends. She said the effects of the abuse limited her life and continued to affect her on daily basis.

“I have lost so much and many of these losses cut right to the core of who I am and cannot be undone,” the young woman outlined in the statement read to the court.

Patrick McCullagh BL, defending, said his client had a good employment history until he sustained an injury which restricted his ability to work. He submitted that his client had been providing a significant level of assistance to his parents and siblings and would be “something of a loss to his own family.”

He said the accused man's marriage to the victim's mother had dissolved “for obvious reasons.”

Mr McCullagh submitted that the man had an “unblemished record” to this point and suggested he had shown in the past an ability to be a constructive member of community. He asked the court to be as lenient as possible and leave light at the end of the tunnel.