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18th Jan 2022

5 family members, including parents, sentenced over sexual abuse of children

The judge said the children had suffered the “most appalling and depraved kind” of abuse.

**Content warning: this article contains details of child sexual abuse, cruelty and neglect that may be distressing to some readers.

Five family members, including the father and mother, have been jailed for the rape, sexual abuse, exploitation, and neglect of five children.

The Munster family members were found guilty by a jury on all but one of the 78 counts against them following a 10-week trial last summer.

All five were convicted of sexually abusing the three eldest children on dates between August 2014 and April 2016, while the parents were also found guilty of wilfully neglecting five of their six children.

The children were all aged under 9-years-old at the time of their abuse.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott sentenced the five in the Central Criminal Court today.

The children’s father, 57, was sentenced to 15 years after he was found guilty of all 31 offences against him, including the rape of his three older children, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, wilful neglect and child cruelty.

Their mother, 34, was jailed for nine years following her conviction for all 25 charges against her, including sexual assault, sexual exploitation and wilful neglect of her children.

The children’s maternal aunt, 35, received a sentence of three years on three counts of sexually assaulting two of the children.

Her husband, 49, was sentenced to 15 years after being found guilty of all 10 counts against him, including the rape, sexual assault and sexual exploitation of the three eldest children.

The children’s maternal uncle, 27, was also jailed for 15 years. He was found guilty of eight of the nine charges against him, which included the rape, sexual assault and sexual exploitation of two of the children.

RTE reports that a number of shorter sentences were additionally imposed on the parents and uncles for lesser offences, but these are to be served in concurrence with the longer sentences.

Mr Justice McDermott said there was no reason to suspend any portion of the sentences for the purposes of rehabilitation because all five family members continued to maintain their innocence, showed no indication of regret or remorse and were still rejecting jury verdicts.

He added that the parents had failed in their duty to nurture and protect their children, instead causing them physical and emotional pain and suffering to the highest degree.

He noted that social services had been involved with and were trying to help the family at the same time as the “most awful kind of sexual abuse” was taking place, with the parents successfully deceiving social workers.

The trial had heard that the family had been on the “radar” of Tusla since 2011. The children were taken into care in 2016 on grounds of chronic neglect.

It was later discovered that they had suffered the “most appalling and depraved kind” of sexual abuse and exploitation between 2014 and 2016.

Victim impact statements were submitted at a sentence hearing last week on behalf of three of the children and from the foster families of all five children.

The eldest child, now a teenager, said his family should never again be allowed near children.

If you have been affected by any of the details of this article, you can contact Childline on 1800 66 66 66, Women’s Aid’s 24 hour helpline on 1800 341 900, or the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre on 1800 77 8888.