A Dublin man sexually abused his daughter over a seven-and-a-half year period after first blackmailing her.
The man (55) sent text messages under the guise of being another person to his daughter demanding that she engage in sexual acts with men. When the victim showed the messages to her father he told her that she would have to do these things because his job was at risk.
The victim did not realise her father was behind everything until, at the age of 21, she found a DVD recording of the first time she was sexually abused by her father while she was wearing a blindfold.
The abuse continued after she confronted her father about this, and he claimed he was being blackmailed. Over seven-and-a-half years she had to have sex with her father and other men on numerous occasions.
Before opening evidence before the Central Criminal Court, Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, told the court that the victim wished to waive her anonymity. Justice Michael White said that reporting restrictions apply “for the moment” and that “what follows, follows”.
The man pleaded guilty to the oral rape and sexual assault of his daughter at the family home in Dublin on dates between April 1st, 2007 and May 31st, 2007. He pleaded guilty to the same offences at the same address on dates between November 1st, 2007 and December 31st, 2007.
He also pleaded guilty to two counts of having carnal knowledge of a female person who he knew to be his daughter, one count on a date unknown between April 1st, 2007 and August 31st 2007, and the second count on a date unknown between May 1st, 2014 and June 30th, 2014.
During the sentencing hearing today, the court heard that the abuse began in 2007 after the victim had turned 18, and she started receiving anonymous text messages which later transpired to have been sent by her father.
The messages began demanding that she do sexual things with men while threatening to send information to her father's work regarding her previously talking to boys on an online chatroom for teenagers.
When she told her father about what was happening, he said she would have to do these things because his job was at risk. It was arranged that her father would let a person into their home, and she would do whatever this person wanted while wearing a blindfold and earphones playing music.
Her father then came into the bedroom where she was blindfolded and began forcing her to give him oral sex and sexually assaulted her.
These incidents continued to occur before escalating to her having to engage sexually with two men while blindfolded. She believed she had no choice and that she was doing this to save her father's job.
Eventually she was told she had to have sex with her father and after the first time this happened the incidents began to feature sex with her father and other men. She had no sexual experience whatsoever prior to the beginning of the offending.
In 2010 she found a DVD recording of the first incident and realised her father had been behind things from the beginning. She confronted him and he denied being responsible, then claimed he was being blackmailed.
After this she had to engage in sexual contact with her father every week. He also physically assaulted her and threatened to kill her on several occasions.
The abuse came to an end in June 2014 when she told someone she knew what had happened and then informed her mother. Her mother had been “completely unaware” of what had been going on as it always took place while she was out of the house.
In interview with gardaí, the accused accepted her version of events were true and that she had not done these things willingly.
In her victim impact statement, which she read before the court, the woman said she was a 32-year-old survivor, not victim, of sexual abuse.
The woman said that growing up she always feared her father and that this fear will be with her always. She said she was defenceless and was “easy prey” for him and others “in his sick world”.
She said she was forced into doing a college course she did not want to do by her abuser. She said she had wanted to be a teacher or nurse, but he refused to let her pick these careers and she is now in a career she hates.
The woman said she had had a dream of being married and having children by the time she was 30, but she does not now feel like that will ever happen for her.
She said it was “like living with Patrick Bergin in the movie Sleeping with the Enemy”, but that she could not swim away like Julia Roberts did in the movie.
The woman said the fear of having a relationship was “daunting” due to threats. She said her abuser once threatened that if she moved in with a boy he would find where they were and burn the place down.
The woman said she would have to strip the bed and clean up after the incidents. She said afterwards she would shower and “scrub herself raw” to try and cleanse herself, but she will never wash away the memories.
She said how easily he deceived others “baffled” her. She said she had to “reluctantly put on a front to mask the horror” of what was going on.
The woman said that she reached the point during the abuse that she felt the only way it was going to end was with him killing her or her killing herself.
She said telling gardaí about the experience was “horrendous” and that it was “a very painful and daunting, long process”. She said the embarrassment and shame of having to say these things out loud “made me crumble”.
The woman said she had two main goals today, which were to face her abuser and to deliver her statement herself. She said she hopes her experience helps one person to speak out.
She said the world will now know who he is and what he has done. She said she will not carry shame any more for what he has done.
After completing her statement, Justice White thanked her and said her “courage, tenacity and composure is an example to us all”.
He adjourned the sentence to May 27th, next, when the man's plea in mitigation will be heard.