Declan Brennan and Sonya McLean
Three victims of child sexual abuse have told a court of the devastating effects of the abuse on their childhood and adult lives.
Iosach O Riain (62) of Mount Eagle Rise, Leopardstown Heights, Dublin 18, was jailed for nine months today after he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing each of the victims.
The court heard that all three complainants wish for O Riain to be named in the reporting of the case, but do not want to be identified themselves. O Riain knew all three children very well.
O Riain pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a young girl in her family home in Dublin on dates around 1978 and 1979 when she was aged seven.
He also admitted sexually assaulting a boy around the same time period when the boy was aged around six. The court heard that on two occasions in 1978 he attacked this boy in his bed and forced him to perform oral sex on him.
O Riain also pleaded guilty to attacking another boy in the summer of 1995. The court heard that the night after a family funeral, the man went to the room of the 15-year-old boy and molested him.
This victim later told gardaí that he was terrified and lay there frozen. When O Riain continued to assault him, the boy got up from the bed and left the room.
The accused man was aged around 19 during the earlier attacks and was aged 36 when he abused the teenager.
The victims went to gardaí in March 2020, and in November 2021 the man pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault.
Victim impact statement
Reading from his victim impact statement, the man who was aged six when O Riain abused him told the court the man preyed on him and used him “as a commodity”.
He said he felt suffocated, powerless and fearful during the attacks. He said he was asleep and woke up to what was a disgusting experience.
“My innocence and trust were taken away from me,” he said. He said it affected his ability to relate to people, and he turned to alcohol, drugs and violence to cope with anger, shame and despair.
He said he is now sober and in therapy. He said to O Riain that “you had no respect for the sanctity of my childhood, my safety or my body”.
The victim of the 1995 abuse told the court that he felt ashamed as a child that he wasn't brave enough to tell someone what O Riain had done. He said the abuse has left him with lifelong problems with intimacy and if his wife touches him unexpectedly his instinct is to push her away.
He thanked the gardaí for their professionalism and compassion in handling the investigations.
In her statement the woman said that the abuse resulted in self-destructive behaviour on her part. She said while she feels compassion for the defendant, “there has to be consequences” for his actions.
Roisin Lacey SC, defending, said that O Riain had a traumatic childhood in a family home marked by violence, alcohol abuse and constant fear. She said the man was a child when his alcoholic mother would get him to buy drink for her.
She said he has reported that when he was still a child an older relative sexually assaulted him. He began stealing his mother's vodka when he was aged 11 and was drinking to the point of blacking out by the age of 14.
She said in 1998 he gave up drink and began attending counselling for abusers with One In Four. She said he has written letters of remorse to each of the complainants if they are willing to accept them. The victims each indicated today that they do not wish to receive O Riain’s letters.
Judge Orla Crowe described the case as “an enormously serious matter” which involved three children, two of which were very young and a “gross breach of trust” as they were each molested in their beds as they slept.
She said O Riain was an adult when he abused all three of them.
The judge acknowledged that O Riain had been sexually abused himself, had abused alcohol for many years and had offered his apologies to the victims.
She set a headline sentence of 18 months for each offence and noted that a custodial sentence must be imposed such was the seriousness of the case.
Judge Crowe imposed a sentence of 12 months on each count having taken into account mitigating factors including O Riain’s lack of previous convictions, his early guilty pleas and a probation report which indicated that he was at a low risk of re-offending.
She suspended the final three months of the sentences on strict conditions including that he engage with the Probation Service for two years upon his release from custody. O Riain was also registered as a sex offender.
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 drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.
In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.