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Man who sexually abused younger brother receives suspended sentence

A man who sexually abused his younger brother for three years following the breakdown of their parents’ marriage has received a suspended sentence.

The 55-year-old accused, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his now 47-year-old victim, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal court to ten sample charges of indecent assault on dates between September 1982 and October 1985.

The court heard the abuse involved oral rape and the accused touching his brother’s penis and forcing him to masturbate him. The man was aged between 18 and 21-years-old at the time while his brother was between 11 and 14.

Judge Melanie Greally said that that abuse became habitual, occurring regularly in the family home when other members of the family were present in other rooms. For some time the assaults took place on weekly or even twice weekly basis.

She said the victim lived in a state of dread and anxiety. His anxiety reached extreme levels following the final sexual assault in October 1985, which the victim connected with the AIDS related death of actor Rock Hudson that same month.

The court heard the victim became concerned what would happen to him after this oral rape assault and began continuously brushing his teeth.

Judge Greally said that there was an element of premature sexualisation of the older siblings in the family at the hands of a third party visitor to the family home in the 1970s.

She said following the break up of the marriage the victim’s mother left the family home and the older siblings were left to assume parental roles. She said that “deregulated” sexual conduct among the older siblings included the accused.

Judge Greally said she was taking these factors into consideration. She also noted the man’s early plea of guilty, his remorse, his candour in accepting responsibility and his role now as a responsible and loving partner and father of two.

The judge set a headline sentence of eight years which she reduced to six years and suspended in full. She said that after long and careful consideration she had concluded that an immediate custodial sentence would achieve little.

“There are mitigating factors which are quite exceptional,” she said, adding that the man was “manifestly” not the same man he was at the time of offending.

The court heard that in 2011 the victim confronted his brother about the abuse and then began disclosing the abuse to his siblings and mother. The accused and his family engaged with forensic psychological services for the following years.

In 2016 the victim and the accused had a face to face meeting during which the victim told his brother he had ruined his life. He went to gardai the next day and the accused later went to gardai and made a voluntary statement admitting the offences and expressing his regret.

Judge Greally noted as aggravating factors the gravity of the offending, the sexual exploitation by someone in a senior position, the extreme youth of the victim and his loss of innocence as well as as the emotional turmoil experienced by him.

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