Woman accuses brother of sexual abuse during childhood

A woman who alleges that she was sexually abused by her older brother during her childhood has told a jury that she started going to the toilet in a friend’s back garden to avoid her sibling.

The woman claims she was sexually abused by her eldest brother in their family home on a number of occasions beginning in the summer of 1972 when she was eight years old.

The Central Criminal Court heard that she came up with a number of tactics to avoid her brother, including going to the toilet in a neighbour’s garden and not flushing the toilet in her own house.

The 49-year-old woman said that on one occasion when she had flushed the toilet, her brother was waiting outside the bathroom for her.

The accused man has pleaded not guilty to three counts of indecent assault and two counts of unlawful carnal knowledge on dates unknown between June 1972 and August 1976.

Michael Durack SC, prosecuting, told the jury that the charges were listed in outdated terminology because it was an old case, and explained that indecent assault is technically sexual assault, while unlawful carnal knowledge should be treated as rape.

Speaking about the first incident, the woman told Mr Durack that she was playing in the back garden when her brother - who was aged 15 at the time - called her into the house.

“I remember it so vividly, I saw my brother leaning out of the back bedroom window to call me in,” she said.

When she went into the bedroom she saw her brother laying on the bed with his trousers down, and had pink toilet paper wrapped around his private area.

The court heard that she was called over to the bed and forced to perform a sex act on him, before he pulled down her underwear and forced her to perform a different sex act.

Adding: “When it was all over and done with, he said nothing. Absolutely nothing. I pulled my knickers up and went back out to play.”

The court heard the next alleged incident was similar to the first and happened a short time later during the same summer.

The woman said that on the third occasion she was penetrated and became tearful as she recounted the incident. “He forced himself inside of me. I just lay there and thought, please let this be over soon,” she said.

“I never told anyone, I was ashamed. Nobody would have listened to me. I really felt I would be sent away,” she said.

The woman said she stopped using the toilet in the house so that she wouldn’t bump into her brother, and instead used a friend’s back garden until her mother spotted her.

“I got to be really fast on the stairs and I knew if I didn’t flush the toilet, he wouldn’t know I was in there,” she said.

She recounted one incident when her brother was waiting outside the bathroom before taking her to his bedroom and raping her.

The witness said she was relieved when her brother got a girlfriend, because she thought he would stop abusing her.

“I remember thinking it’s great he has a girlfriend. Now he doesn’t need me anymore. He’ll leave me alone,” she said. “But I was wrong.”

The woman broke down in tears during the early stages of cross examination by Sean Gillane SC, defending, and Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley decided to adjourn the trial until tomorrow.

The woman first made a complaint to gardaí in 2010 after confronting her brother with the allegations. The accused man presented himself to gardaí voluntarily later that year, and was arrested and charged in October 2011.

The trial continues before Justice O’Malley and a jury of six men and six women.

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