April 2013

Donegal man who abused young children jailed for 12 years


A Donegal man who was 15 when he began abusing young girls and boys has been jailed for 12 years.

Peter Corcoran (41) of Dunmore, Falcarragh, Co. Donegal abused the seven victims, aged as young as seven, over the course of 16 years. By the end of this period he had progressed to raping one of the male victims.

Corcoran pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 15 counts of indecent assault, sexual assault and rape between 1984 and 2000 in Donegal and Dublin. These charges include two of anal and oral rape.

Mr Justice Paul Carney noted that Corcoran was charged with 183 counts in relation to the abuse of five male and two female victims.

Mr Justice Carney said that the appropriate sentence was 15 years which he imposed on the rape counts. He noted Corcoran’s guilty pleas, remorse, the absence of relevant previous convictions and the fact that he was a child in the eyes of the law when many of the offences were carried out.

He suspended the last three years on the condition that Corcoran keep away from the victims for the rest of his life.

One man who was seven years old when Corcoran molested him while out on prison release told the court the abuse had left him serving his own life sentence.

In a victim impact statement he told the court that after the abuse he lost all trust in his parents and closed up inside. He said he didn’t tell anyone because “I didn’t think anyone would believe a child”.

He said he started drinking and smoking cannabis. This led to selling drugs and he ended up going to prison.

He said he tried to kill himself a few times and is now on medication to treat depression, anxiety and symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.

He said: “I used to cry myself to sleep. I always felt dirty and still do to this day.

“I feel like I am dead inside and have done for a long time … I feel like I’m living a life sentence.”

Detective Garda Bosco Gallagher told Úna Ní Raifeartaigh SC, prosecuting, that the first victim was aged eight when Corcoran began forcing her to perform oral sex on him. He was aged 15 and abused her for the next six years.

He began abusing her brother in 1986 and would attempt to have anal sex with the 10-year-old in front of the child’s friend. Corcoran would also abuse this friend on the same occasions.

The first victim to report the abuse went to gardaí in 2010 after confronting Corcoran on New Year’s Eve 2009.

In his victim impact report this man said to Corcoran: “You smiled. It was that condescending smile that gave me the stamina to make a statement. It was only then that I learned you had abused my brother and two of my sisters.”

Another victim was seven when Corcoran began molesting her in 1987, when Corcoran was aged 18. He would later abuse her eight-year-old brother.

He was on periods of temporary release from prison in 1992 when he began abusing the seven-year-old boy. This abuse went on for six years.

The final victim said he was 17 when Corcoran would force him to perform oral sex on him as a “daily routine”.

Patrick Gageby SC, defending, said his client had expressed genuine remorse and could be rehabilitated. He said he was a carer for his sick mother and that he only has supervised access to his children as a result of these offences.

One victim said she told her husband about the abuse before their wedding and that they asked Corcoran to stay away. She said when he showed up at the church it ruined her day. He then insisted on sitting at a table reserved for family.