Man (54) who raped his girlfriend's school-going sister is jailed for seven years

A man who acted on a “paedophilic sexual interest” he had in a schoolgirl has been jailed for seven years for her rape and sexual assault.

After a trial at the Central Criminal Court, Kenneth McDonald (54) was convicted last July of the rape and indecent assault of his then girlfriend’s younger sister at locations in Co Wexford on dates between January 1987 and November 1994. The attacks began when the complainant was aged seven and had just started primary school.

McDonald, from Wexford town, had pleaded not guilty and continues to deny the offending. During his sentence hearing four people, including his partner and their daughter, took to the stand to give testimonials to his good character.

The court heard that the trial has “ripped apart” the family.

Justice Alex Owens said that it was clear from the evidence that McDonald had “a paedophilic sexual interest” in the child that left her terrified.

In a victim impact statement the victim, who is waiving her anonymity, told the court the abuse destroyed her childhood and has haunted her adulthood.

“I felt terrorised in my childhood bedrooms, in ways I cannot describe. My words would do no justice to the devastation it caused. My family life, my relationships, my education and my career have all suffered immensely as a result,” she said.

She described feelings of rage, fear, shame and confusion and a feeling that her body was not my own.

“My sense of self and self-worth was taken from me,” she said. She finished her statement by saying: “I may always be this victim, but I am also a survivor”.

Garda Ian Doyle told the court that the first incident occurred in the summertime, shortly after the victim had started primary school.

The man came into the child’s bedroom in the evening time, lay her face down on the bed and put his hand inside her clothes. He molested her, telling her: “You will enjoy it”.

On another occasion at a similar time, the man again entered the child’s room in the evening time and raped her.

Justice Owens described his actions as depraved. He said the assaults were the acts of an immature and opportunistic predator.

After taking into consideration what he said were McDonald’s immaturity at the time and the passing of time since the offending, he set a headline sentence of 11 years.

He said the mitigating factors were McDonald’s good character since the offending. The judge said he accepted that McDonald had led the life of a person of good character since and was held in high regard.

He finalised the sentence at seven years. He said he would not suspend any of the sentence and noted that McDonald had made it clear he would not engage in therapy.

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