Donegal man cleared of 34 counts of alleged rape

A Donegal man has been acquitted by a jury of 34 counts of raping and indecently assaulting a woman when she was a child.

A Donegal man has been acquitted by a jury of 34 counts of raping and indecently assaulting a woman when she was a child.

The jury spent nine hours on day six of the trial deliberating on 46 counts of indecent assault and rape of the woman. On the remaining 12 counts the jury informed Mr Justice Paul Carney they could not reach a majority verdict.

The man (62) had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the counts of indecent assault and rape of the woman, who is eight years younger than him. The alleged abuse took place between January 1965 and June 1975.

The woman claimed the alleged offences occurred in two different Donegal houses and a shed behind one of the houses prior to her mother’s death and continued when she moved in with her guardian and foster son.

The man told gardai he “had developed feelings” for the woman but they never had a sexual relationship.

He said any feelings he had for the woman were quickly diminished by his foster mother, who was the woman’s guardian, as he claimed “she did not me to have any relationship with any woman.”

The man told gardai his foster mother, who was the complainant’s guardian, “became aware of feelings between us and she wanted to interrupt this.”

He claimed he was 23 at the time and the complainant was 15 or 16.

He admitted to gardai he physically abused the woman and her siblings when they were growing up and said it was because prior to being fostered he was institutionalised and suffered physical abuse.

He said this was the reason he was physically abusive to the complainant and her siblings. He wanted them “to suffer the same fate I had suffered. They received beatings from me.”

He said any allegations of sexual assault or rape have “no foundations.”

“Until the day I die I deny all that,” he told gardai.

Mr Justice Paul Carney thanked the jury of nine men and three women for their time considering the verdict and excused them from jury duty.