A CLARE WOMAN sexually abused by her uncle ‘numerous times’ has told a court that her cousins confronted her brothers in social settings “where they had accused me of compromising the family name through my lies”.
The woman was sexually abused by her uncle between 1976 to 1981 when she was aged five to 10 years of age and her uncle has pleaded guilty to 15 sample counts from 53 charges at Ennis Circuit Court.
In victim impact statements read out by Det Garda Conor Flaherty, the woman said that her immediate family believed her.
She said, “Over time, our family have felt ostracised from the wider family as we would not socialise where this man was. I was once told that they were not invited to a family event for my grand-father because of ‘how we were’ with this man. I cannot understand how people who were supposed to love me and be my family took the word of this man over a small child”.
She said, “My brothers have been confronted by my cousins in social settings where they had accused me of compromising the family name through my lies. To this day, no one from our wider family has contacted my parents, my siblings or me to see how we were when the case came forward or indeed to express any regret over what happened.
She said, “I am lucky – my own family never questioned the truth in what I said and have always supported me and encouraged me”.
“For over 40 years, what happened to me in my childhood has been an open secret, rarely discussed. My recollection of the abuse suffered by me at the hands of my uncle is as clear to me as if it happened yesterday”.
The woman said that she never knew that the accused abused others. She said, “The last few years have been hard. Finding that there are others, much younger than me who have experienced abuse at the hands of this man has been difficult to come to terms with”.
She said, “What happened to me had a serious impact on my immediate family. It was made known to my parents that the negative impact of anything that happened being talked about would kill my grand-parents. That kept the secret safe for a long time. My parents have both experienced psychological trauma as a result and I know that they look at me and feel responsible for what happened and that they imagine the suffering of their small daughter in their own home – that is a heavy burden for them to carry”.
A second victim in her victim impact statement said that the accused “pleaded guilty to this court only and has shown not an ounce of remorse for the pain he has inflicted on me”.
She added, “In fact, I am the one shunned by family for what he has done. He is a danger to children and always will be. He is only sorry that I had the courage to speak out about the disgusting things he has done. We are from a small town and I often see him which is incredibly traumatic. The last time I saw him he was walking a little girl in a stroller”.
She said, “How much time does he deserve for stealing my future? I trust that the court will apply the maximum sentence possible”.
She said: “As I close my eyes to think about what to write in this statement, I imagine myself as I once was – a tiny six year old girl… I wish I could talk to that little girl and hold her tight and tell her she didn’t deserve what happened to her. That a wolf in sheep’s clothing married to her aunt would be looking for the right opportunity to pounce.
A third woman who was abused as a young girl in the 1990s by the man told the court that “after years of repeated sexual abuse by a paedophile who masqueraded as a family friend, I became shy and withdrawn”.
She said, “I do not think that people like the offender deserve the luxury of freedom when we will forever be trapped in what he has done to us”.
In her victim impact statement, the mother of the man’s final victim, aged 10 in 2018 said that learning of the sex assault by her daughter’s grand uncle “completely broke me”.
She said, “I never in a million years thought he was capable of doing such a horrific, disgusting thing to an innocent child because that is what she was at the time.
She said, “A mother is meant to protect her child or children at all costs from monsters like him and he has made me feel like I failed her. He has taken the pure innocence of a child and turned her into a closed book… He has destroyed my daughter’s childhood and life in prison is not enough for him for what he has done”.