A CLARE MAN sexually abused his niece for the final time on his wedding day 41 years ago, a court has heard.

In the case before Ennis Circuit Court, the now 68 year old sex offender has pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of four girls spanning five decades over four separate time periods from 1976 to 2018.

The man told Gardai in an interview, “it was the devil inside that made me do these things”.

According to evidence by Det Garda Conor Flaherty of the Clare Division’s Protective Services Unit, the man admitted to Gardai that he was attracted to nine and ten year old girls.

The man is now in prison after voluntarily giving up his bail but Judge Francis Comerford told the court that he would been remanding the man in custody anyway after hearing an outline of the facts.

The man was first charged with 221 counts of sexual and indecent assaults between 1976 and 2018 concerning four complainants.

In the case, the man pleaded guilty to 53 sample counts concerning the first three victims and pleaded guilty to the single count relating to the 2018 sex assault on the fourth girl.

The man’s first victim, a niece, was born in 1971 and was sexually abused on “numerous occasions” from the age of five in 1976 to when she was aged 10 on her uncle’s wedding day in 1981. The man started his catalogue of abuse at the age of 22.

The man’s final victim was born in 2008 and he pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault in Summer 2018 when she was aged 10.

Another victim was sexually assaulted by the man aged six to 11 in the years 1991 to 1996.

In her victim impact statement, the woman, now aged 37, told the court that the man, married to her aunt, was “a wolf in sheep’s clothing looking for the right opportunity to pounce”.

The woman said that she spent time at the offender’s home as her mother was in hospital for a period.

She said, “Instead of helping to nurture that six year old, he instead used me for his own disgusting sexual perversions.

“Not only did he sexually abuse me from the ages of six to ten, but he also emotionally tortured me with whispers of “nobody will believe you”, “if you tell anyone you will never see your family again”, “you’ll be left all alone” and ‘you know I love you”.

The woman said, “It was an egregious abuse of trust, of normal decency….They say the body keeps the score. I have spent so many years pushing things down, my disgust, my fear, my sadness, my pain. Pushing deeper within myself until I could feel nothing at all”.

Det Garda Flaherty said that the accused’s decades of abuse was exposed when a mother of a third victim confronted him at a funeral in the small Clare town in the Summer of 2019.

At the funeral, the man confessed to the mother of the abuse and after a number of people became aware of this locally, the man’s first two victims came forward to make a statement to Gardaí.

The accused man’s wife was a childminder to the third victim and he sexually assaulted her when the man’s wife would bring the little girl to their home at lunchtime where she would cook a meal for her husband during his break from work.

The sexual assaults took place when the girl was aged six to eight from 2002 to 2004.

Det Garda Flaherty said that after making the admission at the funeral seven days the man checked himself into a psychiatric unit and records obtained by Gardai from the man’s time in the unit included disclosures he made to doctors concerning abusing children.

Counsel, Patrick Whyms BL for the accused said that his client has been called a ‘paedophile’ on the street in his home place.

Mr Whyms said that the man had agreed with TUSLA not to have any more contact with any children. Mr Whyms said that the accused man’s own children have abandoned him while he is separated from his wife though they remain living together in the same house.

Judge Comerford deferred sentencing the man pending the completion of a psychiatric report on the accused and remanded the man in custody.

Judge Comerford adjourned the case to December 12th for mention with the man to be sentenced next year.

Judge Comerford imposed reporting restrictions in the case and there to be no information included that could lead to the identification of the four complainants.

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