I had wondered how long it would be before we had cases like this happening in Ireland.
they are already the case in the UK and the USA, where rape and sexual assault victims
(who are only witnesses in criminal cases), would start taking civil cases which are pressed
on their behalf and they direct the proceeding rather then the DPP running the show.
A MAN who sexually abused a female singer and another man when they were children has been ordered by a High Court jury to pay his victims €830,000 and €945,000 damages respectively.
Majella Murphy (37) told the jury yesterday that the five-month prison sentence served by her abuser Michael Butler (87), was less than some people had served for failing to have a television licence.
Butler, Maudlin Street, Kilkenny, had pleaded guilty at Kilkenny Circuit Court to six counts of indecently assaulting Ms Murphy on dates between April 1983 and October 1984.
Ms Murphy had waived her right to anonymity when Butler was sentenced last year to two years’ imprisonment, with 18 months suspended. He served five months after remission.
The second victim of Butler, a man now aged in his 30s, was awarded €945,000 after the jury found Butler had abused him between 1984 and 1991.
Butler was previously given a two-year sentence for abusing that man – whose identity cannot be disclosed by court order – and the entire two-year term was suspended.
Both victims had taken High Court proceedings against Butler, seeking damages for sexual assault and battery.
He did not defend the proceedings.
The jury was told both plaintiffs suffered horrific abuse at the hands of Butler who, it was stated, also preyed on other children.
Both plaintiffs said they found it difficult to return to their home town because Butler still lived there.
The man said he was particularly upset Butler still went to Mass every day as he thought this was “a kind of blasphemy”.
The court was told yesterday by Michael Gleeson SC, for Ms Murphy, that judgment in default of defence had previously been granted against Butler, who was not represented yesterday, and the case was before the jury for assessment of damages only.
The jury of six men and six women took about 45 minutes to find Butler had sexually assaulted Ms Murphy and about 40 minutes to find he did the same to the second victim before awarding them their respective damages.
Psychiatrists called on behalf of both victims said the abuse was the major factor in problems both had experienced afterwards. Ms Murphy developed an eating disorder and became an alcoholic, while the man also became an alcoholic, developed a drug problem and contemplated committing suicide, the court was told.
In evidence, Ms Murphy said Butler, a single man, regularly invited children to his home.
She said the abuse started when she was just eight years old.
Her parents were good people and did the best they could, but were under pressure at the time and she was having trouble at home, she said.
The abuse stopped when she was about 13 but she had never been able to tell her parents and it was not until she was about 22 that she told a friend about it, she said.
Butler intimidated her and went crying to neighbours telling the “most horrific lies” about her to such an extent that she was ostracised by neighbours and her family, she also said.
Ms Murphy said she had undergone a number of treatments for her eating disorder and alcoholism and today was a singer-songwriter and had been nominated two years ago for a Meteor award.
She had also written a book which she hoped to have published and was starting her second book, she said.
Ms Murphy added she thought it was “atrocious” Butler had only served a five-month sentence. The only way to stand up to the likes of Butler was to “shine a big bright light on them”.
In the man’s case, the jury heard Butler’s abuse of him started when he was aged five or six and continued until he was aged 13 or 14.
The man said he then started taking drink and drugs and had travelled extensively to “get away” from what Butler had done to him.
He was disgusted by Butler and could not believe his abuser was “still walking around” and had the audacity to continue living where he does, he said.
With how screwed up the justice system is and the issues with sentencing in these cases, I think we will see a lot more people taking civil cases.