Limerick sexual assault victims go public on ‘dark secret’

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

Paddy Greene, from Nicker, was found guilty of sexual assault
TWO TEENAGE Limerick sisters waived their right to anonymity after a man was sentenced to nine months in prison for sexually assaulting them.

TWO TEENAGE Limerick sisters waived their right to anonymity after a man was sentenced to nine months in prison for sexually assaulting them.

The defendant can now be named as Paddy Greene, aged 53, of Nicker, Pallasgreen. The girls spoke to the Limerick Leader this week and wished to be named in the story but following legal advice we are precluded from doing so under the Children’s Act.

Greene faced a total of 14 charges against victim A, aged 17 and victim B, 16, from Pallasgreen, between 2010 and 2012.

Represented by Andrew D’Arcy, Greene denied the offences. Victim A was 13 and victim B 14 when the abuse started.

In November, Judge Mary Larkin said she was satisfied the accused touched the skin, breast area, placed his hands on thighs, crotch and on the area of the vagina. Greene was sentenced on Friday.

The sisters decided to waive their anonymity because “the only one it was protecting was him”.

In an interview they say they didn’t do it to name and shame Greene.

“He lives five minutes away. We didn’t think he was going to go to jail and if he didn’t nobody really had to know about it, so it would just go on being a dark secret and he gets to walk around.

“Up until he was found guilty he would walk around and think he had the right to make us feel uncomfortable in public places, like in a shop whereas now people are more aware of it. It is making him more uncomfortable around the place and not just us,” said victim B.

Victim A said they didn’t think it was fair that they felt so uncomfortable about the whole situation while he “walked around like nothing was happening”.

“I think this will make him realise he was the one in the wrong,” said victim A.

Victim B said: “He thought it wasn’t going to affect him, he just carried on for the last two years as normal whereas we didn’t go outside for ages. For a whole summer holidays we didn’t go outside at all in case we would bump into him whereas he would just carry on as normal.”

They wanted to go public because “anyone around here knew anyway, they were able to connect us”.

“From court little rumours started here and there but after the first newspaper report came out loads of people knew about it, just out of nowhere. We had no idea how, not just from this village but surrounding villages. We wanted to take ownership of it instead of little bits of half-truths,” they say.

They also wished to tell their story to encourage others suffering from sexual abuse to seek help.

“Even if they don’t report it to the guards go to CAMHS - Child and Adolescent Mental Heath Service - or CARI,” they say.

“If you saw us this time last year or the year before we were completely different,” said victim A. While victim B said: “We wouldn’t even bother getting up for school, we did not care at all until recently.”

They have found the justice system “frustrating, to put it mildly” but urged others in the process to continue. They reported the offences in the summer of 2012 but didn’t see the inside of a courtroom until 2014.

“How many times did we tell our mother not to bother any more? We got so sick of it.

“We would get a court date, go to that court date and it would be adjourned – come back again in two months. I just wanted to tell them no I’m sick of it,” said victim a.

Victim B recalls one occasion after the case was adjourned that she wanted to walk into the courtroom and tell them there and then that they didn’t want to do it anymore.

But they urge others in a similar position “to stick with it” because after they were vindicated in court in November it has helped them to put it behind them. “It is definitely worth it in the end. We didn’t think it was going to come to much, we thought it was going to be a slap on the wrist, but it is still satisfying. It is being listened to and being able to put it behind you a bit more,” said victim a.

Speaking to their local newspaper about the case was not a decision they took lightly. As they are minors both parents had to give consent to Judge Mary Larkin before reporting restrictions were lifted, allowing the jailed man to be named.

Are they worried about speaking publicly? “People we actually care about know and it doesn’t phase them,” said victim B.

Victim A said it hasn’t changed anything with anyone that actually matters. “If it does change something then they don’t really matter much do they?” she asked. They wished to thank Sergeant Helen Holden; Garda Edel Moloney; Sergeant Michelle Leahy; Amy Quinn in CARI; CAMHS counsellors; Margaret Griffin of the Probation Services and their parents for all their help and support.

They stress they have nothing against the Greene family, only the defendant. Recognaissance was fixed in the event of an appeal.

- For the full court report, see the print editions of the Limerick Leader.