Friday, March 5, 2010

Rape crisis group "disappointed" with 14-year jail sentence given to dad who sexually assaulted son (Ireland)

I'm afraid it's not just the Irish judiciary that's reluctant to give someone a life sentence--even to a father who raped his son over a period of years, showed no remorse, and continued to smear the victim in court. Though the US has longer prison sentences in general, this does not extend to child abusers or killers, especially when they are fathers. You can scroll through cases filed under the "child death" or "child murder" tab and find lots of sentences that are in this range, i.e. 10 to 20 years.

Group 'disappointed' with sentence

The Rape Crisis Network of Ireland (RCNI) today expressed disappointment at the 14-year jail sentence handed down to a man convicted of raping and sexually assaulting his son.

The man (52), who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, was convicted last month at the Central Criminal Court on 47 charges relating to the sexual abuse of his son over a three year period up to 2004.

Passing sentence earlier today, Mr Justice Barry White while a life sentence “would not have been inappropriate” in this case, he was of the view that a determinate sentence was more satisfactory from the victim’s and the accused person’s point of view.

The man was found guilty by a jury of 11 charges of anal rape, 12 charges of oral rape and 24 charges of sexual assault of the boy on dates between April 11th, 2001, and June 23rd, 2004.

He jailed the man for 14 years, with the final 18 months suspended, on each count of anal rape, for 10 years on each count of oral rape and for three years on each count of sexual assault. All sentences are to run concurrently.

While it was a strong sentence, RCNI’s legal director Caroline Counihan said, it could have been stronger.

She said the network was disappointed that a life sentence was not chosen by the judge, as this would considerably weaken “the State’s ability to monitor and limit this man’s risk to society for the rest of his life”.

"This sentence again reveals the Irish judiciary’s reluctance to give a life sentence," she claimed.

“A life sentence would have been appropriate given the scale of abuse, the lack of any remorse and the insistent denial by the father of all criminal behaviour. This rapist sought to do further damage to his victim in court, by insisting that his victim was a liar,” she said.

“This case also highlights the need for custodial release to be linked to a demonstration of reduction in risk of reoffending by the perpetrator,” she added.

Fiona Neary, RCNI Director said the case exposed the complexity and devastation of incest and familial abuse.

Ms Neary said : “It has brought into relief the bind that children living in these appalling circumstances face in seeking help.”

“These children are faced with almost impossible choices. The inadequacies and impotence of social services and child protection responses must be addressed,” she said.