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Judge hails brave abuse victim for reporting father

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Jennifer Lydon McElwaine

Jennifer Lydon McElwaine

Abuser Raymond McElwaine

Abuser Raymond McElwaine

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Jennifer Lydon McElwaine

A judge has commended a survivor of child sexual abuse for her "strength and courage" in coming forward to make a complaint against her father due to her concerns for other children.

Raymond McElwaine (68), of Silverwood Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin, admitted eight sample counts of indecent assault and sexual assault of his daughter at the former family home in Balrothery Estate on dates between June 1988 and December 1994.

Jennifer Lydon McElwaine, who was aged between six and 11 when she was abused, waived her right to anonymity so that her father could be named.

In her victim impact statement, she outlined how the sexual abuse perpetrated by her father continued to affect every aspect of her life, telling the court: "It is a cancer I am fighting every day."

Mistake

Ms Lydon McElwaine said that when she first spoke up as a six-year-old about what was happening, her mother had been very upset and her father had cried and pleaded that it was a mistake and a misunderstanding.

She described the fear and shame and how lonely and scared she had felt.

She said her father controlled everything in the house, and she now understood how her late mother had been manipulated by him.

Ms Lydon McElwaine told the court that when she later came forward as an adult to disclose the abuse to her family due to her concerns about children, her father had implied she was making it up.

"My father cried and manipulated his way out of it," she said, adding that he had shown no remorse and taken no ownership of his actions.

"I never wanted this. All I wanted was my father to ack- nowledge what he had done," she said.

Ms Lydon McElwaine said her father had been meant to protect her, but instead used her for his own sexual gratification.

"The only person my father ever protected was himself," she told Judge Karen O'Connor

"The crime is not mine, but I have been left with a cross to bear for the rest of my life. Child sexual abuse is a life sentence."

Judge O'Connor told her the strength and courage of her six-year-old self in speaking out had clearly stayed with her throughout her life.

The judge adjourned sentencing to allow a probation report to be prepared and remanded McElwaine in custody until October 8.

Liar

The court heard McElwaine made admissions to the abuse during garda interview and said he was sorry for calling his daughter a liar.

Michael O'Higgins, defending, said his client apologised for his actions.

He said this was a "very dark day" for McElwaine, who had to sit and listen to the deep and long-lasting effects of the abuse on his daughter.

He said his client, who now "cuts a sad and lonely figure", was being asked to account for his actions 30 years later "in the autumn of his life".