Uncle jailed for three years after horrific abuse of niece

December 7, 2016

A six year old girl drew a picture of an erect penis to explain to her family how she had been abused by an uncle on a number of occasions.

The girl was indecently assaulted on a number of occasions in the kitchen, sitting room and toilet of his home in the 1980s.

The man, who cannot be named to project the victim’s identity, pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent assault when he appeared for sentence at Letterkenny Circuit Court today.

The court heard how the allegations only came out when the girl was taking part in ‘horse play’ with other young family members.

The girl has said how, when her skirt was innocently lifted up, that “that’s not as bad as what happened with me and XXXXXXXXXX.”

Her parents chatted to her about what had happened and she drew a picture of an erect penis and revealed what had happened to her.

The family went to a local priest but he advised them not to try and move on for the sake of the family.

No official contact was made with Gardai and the court was told that the abuse happened in the 1980s before reporting guidelines were in place.

The accused was confronted with the allegations by the girl’s parents in 1984 but he denied al the claims.

However, the victim suffered a psychotic episode in 2009 and later in 2014 reported the incident to Gardai.

Detective Sgt Michael Galvin told the court that he interviewed the accused man but after initially denying the allegations, he admitted that some incidents had taken place.

The man, who was in his 30s at the time, admitted claims that he had asked the girl to masturbate him.

However, he denied claims by the girl that he had forced the girl to ‘kiss his penis.”

He also denied that he had offered the girl lemon curd sandwiches and sweets after the incidents to keep the assaults a secret.

He estimated that the assaults took place between five and eight times but stopped thereafter.

A lengthy and touching victim impact statement was read to the court on behalf of the girl who told how she was now trying to come to terms with her abuse.

She said she had been on an incredible journey of healing through anger and depression and had discovered that the “truth will set you free but first it will kick your ass.”

The victim, who decided not to come to court, then said she would accept whatever judgement the court decided to hand down to the accused.

She also said that she hopes her abuser realises what he has done to her.

“For me the best possible outcome is that XXXXXXXXXX comes to realise the impact of his choices. I hope he finds a true sense of responsibility for those choices,” she said.

Defence barrister Peter Nolan said the incidents had thorn the families apart but that apart from this incident, he had been hard-working throughout his life and was accompanied by his wife who had always stood by him.

Judge John O’Hagan said this was a very sad case.

However he said the persistent denial made by the uncle and the age difference between the victim and the perpetrator put this in the mid range of seriousness of cases.

He said he had allowed the victim to live with guilt, anger, shame and fear.

“She has had to endure this alone and throughout. She was clearly being made out to be a liar. Uncle XXXXXXX is telling truth and not you.

“The one fear that children have coming to court is that they won’t be believed. This adult world of ours brings a terrible insecurity to a child,” he said.

“He was a father himself. What would he do if he discovered one of his children was being abused? He is unlikely to stay quiet about it. It shows that he knew what he was doing was very wrong,” he said.

He also paid tribute to the victim and the articulate victim impact statement.

He sentenced the man to five years but he suspended the last two years of each sentence meaning the man will serve three years in prison.

He also placed him on the sex offenders register.