A man who sexually abused his foster daughter multiple times a week until she left the family home has been jailed for five years.
The man (77), who cannot be named of legal reasons, began abusing his foster daughter when she was aged 13 until she left the family home when she was 18 years old. He also abused her on two further occasions.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the offending encompassed “all forms of sexual activity” short of penetrative intercourse.
The court heard that the victim was afraid to say anything about the abuse because she was afraid she would be sent away.
The man pleaded guilty to counts of indecent assault and sexual assault at locations in Dublin on dates between April 1, 1988 and March 28, 1994. He has no previous convictions.
A local detective told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that the victim went into care aged four following the death of her mother and her father leaving her on the steps of a care home.
The detective said the victim was aged 12 when she moved in with the foster family in question and that there were a lot of other children in the house. The abuse began when she was aged 13 before she began secondary school.
The victim was sexually abused by her foster father between the ages of 13 and 18 while she lived in the home with the abuse occurring multiple times a week. She was abused on two further occasions after she moved out of the house when she was aged 18.
Ms Boyle told the court that the victim said in her statement that she remembers feeling like she did not have a choice when he was doing this to her and was afraid that if she spoke out or told anyone she would be sent away.
In her victim impact statement, from which extracts were read in court by counsel, the victim said she was not sure how it happened or why and that it took so long for her to open up about it because she blamed herself for it.
The victim said she felt “ashamed and dirty”. She said she “lived in fear” and always wished someone would walk in while he was doing it so it would come to an end, but it never happened.
She said she always felt the man had no guilt or remorse for what he had done. She said he had taken away her teenage and young adult years.
In interview with gardaí, the man made admissions to abusing his foster daughter. He told gardaí he thought it was “a mutual thing between us” and that he never thought it would come out.
The man told gardaí he did not know why he did what he did. He said that he was “the guilty one” and that she had been “too young and vulnerable”.
He told gardaí he was sorry, that he hopes the victim has a good life and that there was “no malice in it”.
The detective agreed with James Dwyer SC, defending, that his client made admissions to a Tusla investigation following a disclosure in 2018 prior to gardaí becoming involved.
He agreed with counsel that after gardaí were notified and his client was interviewed, he expressed remorse during the interview which appeared to be real.
Mr Dwyer read from a letter of apology written by his client which said the victim was a “vulnerable girl” and the man took advantage. The man went on to write that he will never be able to live with himself for this.
Counsel said his client was in his 40's when the offending took place and is now aged 77. He said his client was a good father to the other children in his care.
Judge Melanie Greally said the victim “was a child of very extreme vulnerability who wanted more than anything else to belong to a normal family and have a normal family life”.
Judge Greally said the breach of trust in these circumstances is therefore “extreme and absolutely appalling”. She said the offending encompassed “all forms of sexual activity” short of penetrative intercourse.
She said the offending has had a “catastrophic effect” on the victim at every stage of her life. She said that hopefully there is a brighter future in store for her.
The judge said the accused man comes before the court with no previous convictions and has lived “an otherwise conventional life”. She said she gave him credit for his guilty pleas, his admissions and his expression of remorse.
Judge Greally sentenced the man to five years imprisonment.
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