Ireland

Cork court hears how Junior Cert student was bullied and ostracised in school after rape

A Junior Cert student who made a complaint of being raped found herself being ostracised by her peers as well as being bullied and intimidated in school.

Detective Sergeant Kevin Long of Cork West Divisional Protective Services Unit gave this evidence at the sentencing hearing where a jury returned a verdict of guilty in the case against a 20-year-old man who had denied raping the 15-year-old girl in County Cork in 2016.

Now 24 years old, he continues to protest his innocence and does not accept the verdict of the jury, his senior counsel Tom Creed said.

Det. Sgt Long said: “Following the making of this report she was ostracised by her peers at school and was bullied and intimidated. She has undergone some limited counselling and hopes that once Covid is over that she will engage with Mary Crilly of the Sexual Violence Centre Cork for further face-to-face counselling.”

On the evening of the rape, a group of young people were drinking, listening to music in a laneway and taking trips to the local chip shop. The injured party ended up in a more remote corner with the defendant and another man. The defendant had her phone because he said he wanted to find some music.

When she pulled his hand away when he touched her private parts, he said: “You are no fun.” He then put her on his lap and pulled down her pants and underwear. He put his penis into her vagina from behind, raping her, Det. Sgt Long testified.

He said he pushed her away and threw her phone aside afterwards. She remained there crying and about 10 days later she told a friend that she was raped. That was how her own mother eventually learned of it.

The victim said: “School was hard. Rumours spread, I felt like everyone was talking about me behind my back. I’d get mental breakdowns in class and would have to excuse myself to go and calm down. I had no control over my emotions. I’d keep getting flashbacks of what happened.

Not only was I excluded by my classmates, I isolated myself from my friends and family. I didn’t want to burden anyone. 

“Instead, I’d bottle up my feelings. I didn’t want anyone to see me depressed or question my behaviour. I just wanted to fit in, not stand out from everyone. I wanted to be a normal teenager.

“Even though it’s been stressful, having to speak up about the event again I’m happy to have told my story and I’m happy there are people out there who believe in me and supported me through this.” Mr Justice Paul Coffey said he would impose sentence on the accused man on June 8 and he remanded him in custody until then.

The jury returned after six hours and two minutes of deliberation earlier this month. They found the convicted man guilty by a 10-2 majority on the rape charge.

Mr Creed senior counsel said during the trial: “His case is simple – he was not there.” Mr Creed said he was also uneasy about the complainant saying she was wary of the two accused but by her own evidence had left with another person and then gone home, only to return to join the two people of whom she said she was wary.

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