A man who sexually abused his daughter over a 7½-year period after first blackmailing her has been jailed for 17 years.
David Masterson (56) sent text messages under the guise of being another person to his daughter Charlene demanding that she engage in sexual acts with men.
When the victim showed the messages to her father, he told her that she would have to do these things because his job was at risk.
The Central Criminal Court heard that Masterson went on to defile three girls, having sexual encounters with two teenage girls and entering into a sexual relationship with a third, who lived with him for a period of time.
The court heard this occurred after his daughter reported the seven years of sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father to her mother in 2014 and he left the family home.
Masterson, formerly of Tallaght in west Dublin, was already serving a 7½-year sentence at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise for the defilement offences. He has 17 previous convictions, including the defilement of a child and possession and distribution of child sex abuse images.
He pleaded guilty to six offences relating to his daughter between 2007 and 2014 including oral rape, sexual assault and incest. A further 25 counts, including 14 counts of incest and one count of possessing child sex abuse images, were taken into account.
The court heard that Ms Masterson (32) wished to waive her right to anonymity.
‘Fundamental breach of trust’
Mr Justice Michael White said on Thursday there had been a “fundamental breach of trust” between a father and his only daughter. He said Masterson had subjected her to degradation by his actions, and has “limited insight into his crimes”.
Mr Justice White sentenced Masterson to 18 years in prison for each of the four counts of oral rape, suspending the final year and ordering one year of post-release supervision.
He also sentenced Masterson to five years’ imprisonment for two offences of sexual assault, running concurrently with his other sentences for an effective operative sentence of 18 years’ imprisonment with the final year suspended.
Mr Justice White backdated the sentences to the day Masterson went into custody on these matters on June 26th, 2019.
Speaking outside the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin, Ms Masterson said she was moving past the ordeal her father inflicted on her.
“No sentence will ever probably be enough but I do feel that the judge understood the control and the repercussions that occurred over the 7½ years,” she said.
‘Very dark tunnel’
“I haven’t gone off the rails. It did destroy my life at one point but I’m determined it won’t determine the rest of my life. I’m not going to let it cling to the rest of my life now. It’s done,” she said.
“I hope I’m an example to anyone else out there that they can get to the other side of it and I know it’s a very, very dark tunnel at times but there is light at the end of it.”
On social media on Thursday evening, Taoiseach Micheál Martin paid tribute to Ms Masterson, saying that her bravery will inspire others.
“The decision of Charlene Masterson to waive her anonymity and speak out about the horrific abuse inflicted by her father cannot have been easy, but her bravery and eloquence will have helped and inspired many, many other people in abusive situations,” said Mr Martin.
The court previously heard that the abuse began when she was 18 in 2007, when she started receiving anonymous text messages, which later transpired to have been sent by her father.
The messages began demanding that she do sexual things with men while threatening to send information to her father’s work regarding her previously talking to boys on an online chatroom for teenagers.
When she told her father about what was happening, Masterson said she would have to do these things because his job was at risk.
It was arranged that her father would let a person into their home and she would do whatever this person wanted while wearing a blindfold and earphones playing music.
Masterson then came into the bedroom where she was blindfolded and began forcing her to give him oral sex and sexually assaulted her.
These incidents continued to occur before escalating to her having to engage sexually with two men while blindfolded. She believed she had no choice and that she was doing this to save her father’s job.
Ms Masterson did not realise her father was behind everything until, at the age of 21, she found a DVD recording of the first time she was sexually abused by him while she was wearing a blindfold.
The abuse continued after she confronted her father about this and he claimed he was being blackmailed. Over 7½ years she was forced to have sex with her father and other men on numerous occasions, the court heard.
She had no sexual experience whatsoever prior to the beginning of the offending, the court heard. He also physically assaulted her and threatened to kill her on several occasions.
The abuse came to an end in June 2014 when she told a teacher what had happened and then informed her mother. Her mother had been “completely unaware” of what had been going on as it always took place while she was out of the house.
In interview with gardaí, Masterson admitted his daughter’s version of events were “100 per cent” true. He accepted that she had not done these things willingly, but because she thought his job was under threat.
Masterson accepted there were other men involved, but only told gardaí one of their names and claimed it was the only name he knew. He said this man had known that the victim was his daughter.
Masterson pleaded guilty to the oral rape and sexual assault of his daughter at the family home in Dublin on dates between April 1st, 2007 and May 31st, 2007. He pleaded guilty to the same offences at the same address on dates between November 1st, 2007 and December 31st, 2007.
He also pleaded guilty to two counts of having carnal knowledge of a female person who he knew to be his daughter, one count on a date unknown between April 1st, 2007 and August 31st, 2007, and the second count on a date unknown between May 1st, 2014 and June 30th, 2014.