The Central Criminal Court.

Teenager repeatedly raped by mother's partner describes anger at abuse

Sonya McLean

A teenager who was continually raped by his mother’s partner over the course of four years has said that it angers him that the man “breathes the same air as me and that his heart is still beating”.

The 51-year-old Offaly man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to a total of 27 charges including oral rape, anal rape and sexual assaults on dates between 2015 and 2019 in 11 different locations including the victim’s home, a boat and other vehicles. The boy was aged between 10 and 14 years old.

The victim’s mother, who also read a victim impact statement, said that the accused had raped her son and then “I had climbed into bed with him”.

“This individual is a monster,” she said adding that the only emotion she has left is “anger”.

“It is like a cancer which has grown its roots right through me,” she said, adding that she wanted “justice for the pain and trauma sustained by (her son)”.

She said the man “had sought out our family with the sole purpose and intention to groom and rape my son”.

Ms Justice Caroline Biggs revoked the man’s bail and remanded him in custody pending sentence on March 11 next.

She thanked the now 18-year-old for giving his victim impact statement, which he read over a video link, adding “I can’t imagine how difficult it was for you”. She said she would take into account how the man’s crimes had impacted him.

A local garda told Conor Devally SC, prosecuting, that the man and the victim’s mother had been in a relationship during the time and the man continued to be in their life through babysitting while the woman was not at home.

She said the victim initially indicated that the man had not abused him but in September 2020, he confirmed that he had been regularly raped by the man. He was examined by doctors and later interviewed by specialist gardaí in February 2021.

The garda confirmed that 11 different locations of abuse were identified in Offaly and Westmeath and warrants were secured to seize items for examination but “nothing of evidential value” came out of these examinations.

The man was arrested and strongly denied any wrongdoing, the garda said.

She told Mr Devally that the man performed sexual acts on the child, which included both oral and anal rape, and forced the child to perform sexual acts on him.

“He used coercive methods to gain his trust,” the garda said before adding that there was also “some plying of alcohol” and a certain level of rewarding, including allowing access to game consoles.

The garda said the victim was “not able to mount any form of defence” against the man until he ultimately rejected his advances as a 14-year-old boy.

The teenager stated in his victim impact statement that he recalled waking up from a nightmare when he was in the man’s home, crying as he thought he had seen a ghost.

He said the man invited him into his own bed to comfort him, telling the child that the house was haunted. He said the accused had used this incident so that he would “get a sense of safety from him”.

He said he used to have thoughts and dreams that the man was on his way to hurt him and his family, before he added that he knew the man had several guns in his home and he was terrified that he would use them to hurt him and his family.

The teenager described himself as being “hypervigilant” and not wearing headphones other teenagers would because he wanted to be able to “hear sounds”. He spoke about always “scanning” an area and “always looking over my shoulder”.

He said he also finds himself having an awareness of older men with younger children “wondering if they were being abused”.

The teenager spoke about how he used to lash out in school because he was so angry and how he now tries to control his emotions around his friends but at times, “I can explode”.

“I have a lot of anger and aggression. I want to hurt paedophiles,” he continued.

“It angers me that he is breathing the same air as me and that his heart is still beating. I have so much rage inside me and supressed emotions,” he said.

He said he is overprotective of his girlfriend and that he worries for any children he may have.

“My childhood and youth was taken away from me – this is a life sentence for me,” he concluded.

John Shortt SC, defending, said to the teenager that he had to “put on the record” that his client asked him to “express his remorse and sorrow for the way he treated you”.

“It is too late now,” the teenager replied.

The teenager’s mother spoke in her victim impact statement how “safety of our children should be the highest law”.

“Safety is free and we should use plenty of it,” she continued.

She said her son had suffered severe damage and his recovery would be “life-long”. She said the man had threatened her son and set her children against each other to make sure the child wouldn’t talk or tell.

The woman spoke of how her son used to damage and punch walls and doors of their home before he disclosed the abuse.

“He was raped there and had to continue living there,” she said.

“For the last year we have been denied our mother child relationship….due to his suffering he has been an absent member of our family,” the woman continued.

She asked the judge to “use fairness in your approach to (the victim)” – and spoke of her son’s “right to justice”.

Mr Shortt said his client had a significant number of health issues including “depressive bouts” and diabetes.

He asked the court to acknowledged that his client’s plea of guilty spared the teenager the necessity of giving evidence at trial.

He said his client has pleaded guilty to a “very serious offence” and has expressed remorse.

Mr Shortt said his client was “absolutely satisfied to engage in any recommendations” both while in custody and on release in relation to his rehabilitation.