An Irish sexual abuse survivor is calling for her abuser to receiver a longer prison sentence so that other victims are encouraged to report attacks.
Anthony Smith, a married father of nine from Nobber, County Meath, pleaded guilty last March to the sexual exploitation and sexual assault of Aoife Lynch in 2014.
Smith received a five-year sentence with the last three years suspended and could be released after 18 months on good behavior.
The Director of Public Prosecutions is set to appeal the length and leniency of the sentence in the Criminal Court of Justice.
Lynch, 22, told the Irish Independent that the process of reporting the sexual abuse took longer than the sentence that Smith received.
She said that the process of reporting sexual abuse needs to change in order to encourage victims to come forward.
Aoife Lynch waived her right to anonymity in this rape case. The DPP appealed the sentence & he got a 3 year sentence. She now hopes that, after the Court of Appeal ruling, other victims would be encouraged to come forward.https://t.co/zBQ18hgslP— Lucy Keaveney (@Luighseach) October 12, 2021
Lynch said that she began confiding in Smith while she was being bullied at school at the age of 14. She added that Smith often visited a house that she frequented in Nobber and that she came to view him as an uncle.
"He was there to tell me not to be afraid, that if anything happened to text him and he would fix it all. He hugged me and told me everything would be OK," Lynch told the Irish Independent.
Lynch said that Smith initially threw his arm around her shoulder before initiating intimate physical contact with her when no one else was present.
"He sent me explicit sexual images of himself and told me he loved me by text on my 15th birthday. I didn’t know how to react or respond."
Lynch broke off contact with Smith before the end of 2014 and said that she decided not to report him because of the impact that it would have on her family.
However, she said that she found the courage to tell her family and report the incidents to An Garda Síochána when she turned 18.
Smith was sentenced four years after Lynch's decision to report the offenses and the 22-year-old criticized the lengthy process of reporting sexual abuse.
"I wasn’t happy with the sentence. My sentence is forever but he got two years. It took me four years from reporting the crime to gardaí to his sentence," Lynch told the Irish Independent.
She said that she waived her anonymity to encourage other victims to report their abusers but said that the length of sentence that Smith received will discourage them from doing so.
"My abuser is, at present, due to serve 18 months. People get longer than that for driving without insurance. Is that how the courts view this crime?"