Her attacker was jailed yesterday.
A Central Criminal Court judge has commended the bravery of an Offaly woman in coming forward to report being sexually abused as a child over 45 years ago.
John Moran (66) was yesterday jailed for six years for the rape and indecent assault of the woman, his second cousin, while she was aged between five and 11 years old.
Moran, of Cannakill, Croghan, Co Offaly, pleaded guilty to sample charges of one count of rape and seven counts of indecent assault of the child in Croghan on dates between 1968 and 1974. He was aged between 14 and 21 years old at the time of his offending.
The court heard the complainant, Ms. Elizabeth Williams (née Moran), wished to waive her right to anonymity in this case.
In her victim impact report, Ms. Williams said she was so young at the time and the abuse happened so frequently that it was “a normal part of everyday life” for her.
She said there had been a big family row after the abuse was discovered, but no action was taken, apart from Moran not being welcome in their home until after her father died.
Ms. Williams said she was never taken to a doctor or to the gardaí. She described overhearing adults saying she “was no good to anyone now” and “no one would want me.” Anytime she tried to bring the subject up, she was told to forget about it.
Ms. Williams said she had been badly effected by the abuse in her adult life and has been distanced from her family. She described how she had considered ending her life. She made a complaint to gardaí in 2016 and Moran was interviewed.
“This process has been a horrendous ordeal,” said Ms. Williams in her victim impact statement. “After all these years of being told to keep my mouth shut, the truth is finally coming out.”
Mr. Justice Michael White said he wanted to pay tribute to Ms Williams and noted the “horrific suffering” she had endured during what should have been the best years of her childhood.
He said he was always amazed at the courage of victims of long-term sexual abuse and noted the courage it took to come forward.
Mr. Justice White took into account the fact that Moran is now in ill health and that testimonials outlined he had lead a crime-free and blameless life since the abuse ended. He noted Moran was a good husband. He has no previous convictions.
He said aggravating circumstances included the nature of the abuse and the length of time it continued, as well as the age of the victim and the impact on her. He noted in particular the innocence of the victim who knew nothing about sex at the time.
Mr. Justice White said it was a mitigating factor that Moran was a child himself for part of his offending but aggravating that it continued after he reached maturity.
He acknowledged the guilty plea, noting a trial would have been very difficult with close family members giving evidence and that a plea was also an admission to full extent of his behaviour.
The judge said the headline sentence in this case was 12 years but noted there were matters of substantial mitigation and imposed an eight year sentence with the final two years suspended.