A Dublin man has been sentenced to 17 years in jail after being found guilty of sexually abusing his daughter for more than half a decade.

David Masterson (56),  formerly of Tallaght in west Dublin, pleaded guilty to six charges, including oral rape, sexual assault, and incest on dates in 2007 and 2014.

His daughter Charlene Masterson (32) has said she made the decision to waive her anonymity in an effort to help others and let survivors of abuse know that it is possible to rebuild their lives.

The court heard that the abuse began when Ms. Masterson was eighteen years old after she received text messages from an unknown number demanding she engaged in sexual acts with men or her father's job would be at risk. 

When she showed the messages to her father, he told her that she would have to do these things, and later went on to sexually abuse her.

The decision of Charlene Masterson to waive her anonymity and speak out about the horrific abuse inflicted by her father cannot have been easy, but her bravery and eloquence will have helped and inspired many many other people in abusive situations.

— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) July 22, 2021

It later transpired these messages came from her father and that he was also tracking her phone and could see all the messages that she received and sent.

The abuse continued to Ms. Masterson from the age of 18-25 years old, until 2014 when a friend training to be a social worker became suspicious and asked her if her father was abusing her. 

At this point, Ms. Masterson said she felt completely trapped. Her father had cut her off from her friends, had taken her away from her hobbies, and was physically violent. She went to her mother and told her of the seven years of abuse she had suffered at the hands of her father.  Her mother had been “completely unaware” of what had been going on as it always took place while she was out of the house.

Speaking after the sentencing outside the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin, Ms. Masterson said, “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 and I know it’s a very, very dark tunnel at times but there is light at the end of it.”

She paid tribute to the invaluable work done by the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre who supported her throughout her ordeal, particularly on the days where she had to go to court.

Mr. Masterson is already serving a 7½-year sentence at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise for defilement offenses. He has 17 previous convictions, including the defilement of a child and possession and distribution of child sex abuse images. These offenses occurred in 2015 and 2016 after the abuse of his daughter.