Irishman jailed for rape and abuse of teenage sisters and third woman

One of the victims is calling for changes to the law to better support those who have been abused.

Lydia Morrish
Lydia Morrish NewsMavens, United Kingdom
Irishman jailed for rape and abuse of teenage sisters and third woman - NewsMavens
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Why this story matters:

Bartholomew Prendergast, an Irishman from Waterford, was sentenced to ten years in prison for sexually assaulting his two sisters-in-law, Stephanie Hickey (46) and Deirdre Fahy (52) in the 1980s. He also sexually assaulted a third woman, who does not wish to be named, when she was nine.

The sisters waived their right to anonymity so that Prendergast could be publicly named.

But, after a number of character references of Prendergast were handed into the court by his friends and relatives during the trial, Hickey called on Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to change the law to better support victims.

"I think it's very hard on victims to have to be told that people are writing character references, telling how good these men are in society," she said, "and that to me is just so degrading for a victim.

Details from the story:

  • Prendergast, a well-known musician in his area, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and 13 counts of indecent assault against Stephanie Hickey, who was a young teenager at the time of the assault.
  • The assaults occurred at multiple locations in the 1980s.
  • Prendergast also pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of Hickey's sister, Deirdre Fahy, who is six years older than Hickey.
  • Hickey and Fahy, both now in their 40s and 50s, respectively, waived their right to anonymity at a sentence hearing last year so that Prendergast could be named.
  • Hickey was aged between 12 and 15 years of age at the time of the assault, and Fahy was aged between 13 and 14 years old when she was assaulted by Prendergast.
  • The man also pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault of a third woman, who was aged between nine and 12 years old at the time of the assaults on dates between 1988 and 1991. She is now 39 years old.
  • During the passionate trial of Prendergast, all three said the abuse had seriously affected and ruined their lives in victim impact statements read to the court.
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