Wednesday, February 02, 2022

WARNING: This report contains distressing evidence

By Sonya McLean

 A Kildare man who impregnated a 15-year-old girl whom he believed was his biological daughter has been jailed for 12 years after he admitted to rape and sexual assault over a two-year period.

The 62-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the now 16-year-old girl, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 15 charges including sexual assault, oral rape, anal rape and rape with one incident of sexual abuse involving the penetration of her vagina with a cucumber.

The pleas were accepted on the basis that they are representative charges of the abuse that spanned between 2018 and 2019 when the girl was aged between 13 and 15 years old. The offences took place in his Co Kildare home. The man has no previous convictions.

A local garda told Bernard Condon SC, prosecuting, that the man believed the teenager was his biological daughter having had a previous relationship with her mother. It was not until the girl gave birth in 2020 that a DNA test revealed that he was the father of the baby girl but not the father of the baby’s mother.

The man used emotional manipulation on the girl, the garda said. He once “expressed annoyance that he was not getting any satisfaction from her”.

Another time when he asked if she was ready for him to take her virginity and she indicated that she couldn’t do that he replied: “Fine, I will get someone else to do it with me” before giving her the “silent treatment”.

Sentencing the man today, Mr Justice Paul McDermott said the man “did not and does not recognise that a 13 or 14 year old girl does not have the capacity to consent”.

“He minimised his responsibility and the serious harm he caused to her,” the judge said. The man knew what he was doing was wrong, but did not stop, he said.

The judge said the girl has “demonstrated great strength, bearing in mind the devastating level of betrayal and abuse she received”.

He handed down a 12-year sentence, which he backdated to when the man went into custody. He ordered him to undergo five years of post-release supervision and said he is to have no contact with the girl or her family, either directly or indirectly. He further ordered that the man is not to be alone with a child under the age of 18 without supervision.

The court previously heard that the teenager told gardaí that she was very insecure and the man took advantage of her. She thought she was in a relationship. He was nice about things and she was flattered. She said she was convinced she was in love.

The abuse continued and developed into anal rape, oral rape and rape. In June 2019 when the man took Viagra, the girl said he had sex with her 15 times in one night.

She confirmed that she sent him explicit photos of herself though Facebook and the man later admitted that he had requested those photographs from the girl.

The garda confirmed that the girl appeared to think she was in love with the man and described how he once used a cucumber on her while sexually assaulting her.

The girl, who has previously been diagnosed with autism, took the stand to deliver her own victim impact statement.

She asked how “someone that had called himself my father” could have done that to her.

“The man that I once idolised put me through absolute hell and back. I am still hurt and traumatised. I was manipulated, groomed and sexually abused,” she continued.

She said she has lost trust in everyone around her, “apart from my baby”.

“I felt like I could not go through with it. I felt like a child having a child. I worried about what everyone would think,” she said referring to her pregnancy.

“I thought I was nothing more than a tramp and a slut,” she said.

Due to the deterioration of the mental health of her own mother, the teenager decided to give her baby up for adoption immediately following her birth. She and her mother later decided to put an end to the adoption and the child now lives with them.

“I had to wait nearly eight months before my miracle baby came home. It is the best thing that ever happened me,” the girl said referring to the birth of her little girl.

“He was supposed to be my father not the father of my baby. How will I ever get through this?” the girl concluded.

The teenager’s mother also prepared a victim impact statement which was read into the court record.

“2020 was the worst year of my life. I found out my daughter was being sexually abused since she was 13 years old. My 15-year-old vulnerable daughter gave birth to her baby,” the woman said.

She said bringing the baby home was “the best decision ever” before she reflected on the fact that her own daughter “never experienced having a boyfriend”.

“It breaks my heart that I trusted him (the accused man). How could he do that to my little girl?” the woman asked.

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