A father who raped his 14-year-old sister-in-law has been given a suspended sentence after a judge ruled that a prison sentence would impose ‘extreme hardship’ on his family.
The court heard that two of the 52-year-old man’s sons have autism and require 24-hour care and attention. A third child has many medical health issues also.
The Irish Independent reports that the 52-year-old man was convicted of raping the victim on two occasions and of of indecently assaulting her on two other occasions over an eight month period between September 1985 and May 1986, following a four-day trial at the Central Criminal Court last February.
In her victim impact statement, which was read out at a previous hearing, the victim said it was difficult to find words for the “contagious and insidious effect” the abuse had on every aspect of her life, or to describe the “pain, trauma, loss and sadness” she continues to feel every day.
The victim had been babysitting her sisters children when the man came into the bedroom where she was sleeping and raped her on two separate occasions.
The now 41-year-old woman said the abuse had “stolen her teenage years and her curiosity for life”.
“I just wanted to die because he caused me so much pain, anguish and turmoil. Part of me was stolen, killed and lost for ever,” she said. “I will have to live with this invasion of my body all my life.”
The accused, who was 24 at the time, denied all charges. After his conviction he was remanded in custody pending his sentence.
On Friday Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan handed down a seven-year suspended sentence because of the “wholly exceptional” circumstances of the case.
In his 10-page judgment he ruled it was in the interest of society and the man’s family that the family unit is “preserved and supported” due to the level of care required by his children.
He said: “Imprisonment...will impose extreme hardship on his family, particularly on his partner and his son.
“The evidence in this case disclosed that the defendant not only has the capacity to remain an effective parent, but also that it is in his family's interest as well as society's interest that the family unit in this particular case by preserved and supported.”