Teenage abuser says he "got told too young" that father raped his sisters

A teenager said that finding out that his own father had raped his sisters may have caused him to begin sexually abusing his younger niece, a court has heard.

The teenager, now aged 19, admitted the abuse to gardaí and told them he stopped the abuse when he was 14, two years after it began. The victim was aged between seven and nine. The teen admitted molesting her numerous times.

A psychological report presented at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court stated that the abuse may have been a "maladapted way of seeking closeness and affection" by the abuser for his niece who he cared for emotionally.

The abuse took place within a “dysfunctional family” where at the age of 12, the boy was exposed to cannabis and his father was in jail for raping his sisters.

Today the Dublin man, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty to defilement and sexual assault of a child between December 2008 and February 2009. He also admitted the sexual assault of his older sister on January 21, 2012.

Judge Catherine Murphy said the offences were of the most serious and heinous nature and were against a child who was in a vulnerable position, as the boy was acting as a babysitter during some of the abuse.

She said the case was difficult because of his unusual circumstances and she adjourned the matter until July in order for him to complete a module of victim empathy as part of a treatment programme for teenagers who had engaged in sexually harmful behaviour.

The court heard that in January 2012 the man’s older sister woke up to find him sexually assaulting her. When she confronted him, he repeatedly told her he would kill himself if she told anyone.

He began screaming “sorry, sorry” and started stabbing himself with a pencil. He told gardaí that he had been drinking whiskey and had taken cocaine and sleeping tablets that night. He said he had started drinking a lot “over what I did to my niece”.

He admitted to gardaí in May 2012 that he had abused his niece over a two-year period. Asked why he began doing this, he told gardaí: “I don't know. I got told what my Dad did to my sisters. I got told too young”.

Asked if he thought it was appropriate he said: "I didn't even think and then as I got older I knew it was really really bad". He said he then stopped and told gardai he was sorry.

The court heard that he has since actively engaged with the HSE-funded treatment service for teenagers but has no family support.

A senior social worker told Bernard Condon SC, defending, that the man had presented as “insightful and engaging”, had taken full responsibility for his offending and never sought to minimise it.

He has voluntarily attended the service, which is aimed at preventing future abuse, and has made excellent progress, she said.

The psychological assessment puts him at a moderate to low risk of reoffending. The report also notes that he has a positive attitude to women, displays low preoccupation with sex, and does not over-identify with juveniles.

Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, handed two victim impact reports to the court which were not read out in court.

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