Father jailed for 17 years for sexually abusing and blackmailing his daughter

David Masterson (56), has 17 previous convictions, including the defilement of a child and possession and distribution of child pornography.
Father jailed for 17 years for sexually abusing and blackmailing his daughter

Brion Hoban, Isabel Hayes and Stephen Bourke

A father who sexually abused his daughter over a seven-and-a-half year period after first blackmailing her has been jailed for 17 years.

David Masterson (56), 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.

Defiled three other girls

The Central Criminal Court heard that Masterson went on to defile three girls, having sexual encounters with two teenage girls and entering into a sexual relationship with a third, who lived with him for a period of time.

The court heard this occurred after his daughter reported the seven years of sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father to her mother in 2014 and he left the family home.

Masterson was already serving a seven-and-a-half year sentence at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise for the defilement offences.

He has 17 previous convictions, including the defilement of a child and possession and distribution of child pornography.

Masterson, formerly of Tallaght in west Dublin, pleaded guilty to six offences relating to his daughter between 2007 and 2014 including oral rape, sexual assault and incest.

A further 25 counts, including 14 counts of incest and one count of possessing child pornography, were taken into account.

The court has heard that Charlene Masterson (32) wishes to waive her right to anonymity. Mr Justice Michael White said on Thursday there had been a “fundamental breach of trust” between a father and his only daughter.

He said Masterson had subjected her to degradation by his actions, and has “limited insight into his crimes”.

Sentence

Justice White sentenced Masterson to 18 years in prison for each of the four counts of oral rape, suspending the final year and ordering one year of post-release supervision.

He also sentenced Masterson to five years imprisonment for two offences of sexual assault, running concurrently with his other sentences for an effective operative sentence of 18 years imprisonment with the final year suspended.

Justice White backdated the sentences to the day Masterson went into custody on these matters on June 26th, 2019.

Speaking outside the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin on Thursday Ms Masterson said she was moving past the ordeal her father inflicted on her.

Charlene Masterson "I hope I’m an example to anyone else out there that they can get to the other side of it," said Charlene Masterson (32) outside the Courts of Justice. Photo: Collins Courts

“No sentence will ever probably be enough, but I do feel that the judge understood the control and the repercussions that occurred over the seven and a half years,” she said.

'It's done'

“I haven’t gone off the rails. It did destroy my life at one point, but I’m determined it won’t determine the rest of my life. I’m not going to let it cling to the rest of my life now. It’s done,” she said.

I hope I’m an example to anyone else out there that they can get to the other side of it

“I hope I’m an example to anyone else out there that they can get to the other side of it and I know it’s a very, very dark tunnel at times, but there is light at the end of it,” Ms Masterson added.

In her victim impact statement, which she previously read out in court, Ms Masterson said she was a 32-year-old survivor, not victim, of sexual abuse. 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.

Ms Masterson 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”.

After completing her statement, Justice White thanked her and said her “courage, tenacity and composure is an example to us all”.

Anonymous text messages

The court previously heard that the abuse began when she was 18 years old in 2007, when 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, Masterson 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.

Blindfolded

Masterson 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.

Ms Masterson 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 was forced to have sex with her father and other men on numerous occasions, the court heard.

She had no sexual experience whatsoever prior to the beginning of the offending, the court heard. He also physically assaulted her and threatened to kill her on several occasions.

Teacher informed

The abuse came to an end in June 2014 when she told a teacher 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, Masterson admitted his daughter's version of events were “100 per cent” true. He accepted that she had not done these things willingly, but because she thought his job was under threat.

Masterson accepted there were other men involved, but only told gardaí one of their names and claimed it was the only name he knew. He said this man had known that the victim was his daughter.

Masterson pleaded guilty to the oral rape and sexual assault of his daughter at the family home in Dublin on dates between April 1, 2007 and May 31, 2007. He pleaded guilty to the same offences at the same address on dates between November 1, 2007 and December 31, 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.

 

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at https://www.drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.

In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.

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