A woman in her 50s has been jailed for 3 years for the horrific sexual abuse of her three young nephews in Co Donegal.
The woman pleaded guilty to the abuse of the three young brothers when she herself was aged between 13 and 24 years.
The abuse was committed on the boys at various locations from a very young age up until they were aged approximately 11 years old.
The woman pleaded guilty to a number of sample charges when she appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court where she faced 41 counts.
The accused, who is an aunt of the boys, cannot be named to protect the identities of the victims.
Specific details of the attacks on the boys were read out in court.
One of the boys was as young as two when he was first abused and those abuse continued up until he went to school aged 5.
The court was told that the woman herself claimed she was sexually abused as a child and had come from a dysfunctional background.
She became pregnant at the age of just 12.
She had since gone to Birmingham in England for counselling for sex abuse.
The court was told that the woman was aware of her wrongdoing and at a family funeral the accused asked her sister “Why did God take the good one and leave me after what I did?”
Another of the boys revealed how he had received an operation on his testicles and the woman asked to see the scar before sexually assaulting him when he showed her.
On other occasions she would abuse the boys in sheds and also in dilapidated cars.
Barrister for the accused Ms Eilis Brennan said her client left school very early and was from a dysfunctional family background.
She said however, that the woman took full responsibility for what she did and said she claimed she was not the person now that she was then.
Harrowing victim impact statements were read out on behalf of the three brothers.
Two of the three revealed how they had tried to take their own lives.
All three said they had drank too much.
Two of the victims, who sat at the back of the court, instructed their barrister Ms Patricia McLaughlin, that the abuse had been reported and investigated by social workers back in the late 1980s.
However, the court was told that the allegations were never reported to Gardai.
The accused was previously found guilty of another sexual assault of a juvenile female minor in 2015.
It was through the media reporting of this case that the brothers then decided to go to Gardai to prevent the woman from reoffending again.
Barrister Ms Brennan said a psychological report on the accused said she realises she had a difficulty and has developed a control on her need to sexually offend.
She added that she had not offended for more than 15 years and has apologised for all she has done on a number of occasions.
She added that this was an extraordinary case and asked the court for leniency saying her client had agreed to “put herself out of harms way.”
Passing sentence Judge John Aylmer said he placed the offences at the higher end of the scale of such offences which merited 7 years in prison before mitigation.
He said that a number of the offences took place when the accused was aged between 13 and 18 and that he would take these charges into consideration.
He noted that the woman made admissions to social workers as far back as 1989 but ot appeared a decision had been made not to involve Gardai then.
The woman had received treatment and counselling and it was noted that she had suffered sexual abuse as a child which Judge Aylmer said was an “unfortunate feature of this and many such cases.”
He added that she was fully co-operative, had entered an early plea and had a good work record as a carer for an elderly man.
Because of these mitigating factors he reduced the sentence from seven years to four years and because she met the case he also suspended the last 12 months meaning the woman will serve 3 years.
The woman was led away from the courtroom sobbing.