Vic­tim speaks of dev­as­tat­ing im­pact sex­ual abuse has had on his life

Bray People - - ABOUT GREYSTONES -

IN AN emo­tional and dig­ni­fied ad­dress to the court, Cor­mac Walsh spoke of the dev­as­tat­ing im­pact years of sys­tem­atic sex­ual abuse had had on him.

He said the groom­ing be­gan when he was just eight years old. ‘From then on he slowly, very slowly got in­side my head. He made me think that he was the only per­son who re­ally cared about me. That he was the per­son to go to to sort out ev­ery prob­lem. Over many years he got in­side my head and he cre­ated my world and he stole my child­hood. I thought I was spe­cial.

‘I didn't re­ally even re­alise I was be­ing abused. I know that may sound hard to be­lieve.

‘He has been emo­tion­ally abus­ing me ever since. He dragged me through the le­gal sys­tem for the last four years. All along he de­nied that he had done any­thing wrong. Michael Byrne's abuse will en­sure that I will never be the per­son I could have been. What­ever sen­tence is im­posed on this man, he should re­alise that he has im­posed a sen­tence on me that I will con­tinue to serve un­til the day I die.

‘I made this com­plaint, not out of vin­dic­tive­ness or re­venge but for jus­tice and ac­count­abil­ity; I am a vic­tim, I am in­no­cent, I have been wronged.

‘Sex­ual abuse is a crime that thrives on se­crecy and shame. For this rea­son my fam­ily de­cided to al­low our iden­tity to be made pub­lic. Hope­fully my ac­tions will en­cour­age other vic­tims to come for­ward.

‘I needed to stand in a pub­lic place, look Michael Byrne in the eyes and speak my truth: the truth of how he ma­nip­u­lated, groomed and vi­o­lated me: the truth of how his crimes have af­fected ev­ery as­pect of my life and how it has shaped and moulded me to ex­pe­ri­ence years of self doubt, self degra­da­tion, de­pres­sion, and dis­con­nec­tion from my­self and oth­ers.'

He said the ef­fect on his wife Mary and chil­dren Katie and David has been ‘cat­a­strophic. I would not be here to­day with­out their love, sup­port, strength and courage.' He also thanked De­tec­tive Paul Comiskey and his fam­ily for their sup­port.

Speak­ing af­ter Byrne was sen­tenced, Mr Walsh said it had been an ‘un­be­liev­ably dif­fi­cult and ex­haust­ing jour­ney' with the case com­ing be­fore the court 17 times.

He also said ques­tions need to be asked as to how Byrne was al­lowed un­su­per­vised ac­cess to young in­no­cent chil­dren af­ter his con­vic­tion for sex­ual of­fences and how he was able to get em­ploy­ment in var­i­ous schools af­ter that con­vic­tion.

Cor­mac and Mary Walsh at Bray Court.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.