A man who sexually abused two girls 40 years ago was jailed for five years, when he appeared before Londonderry Crown Court.
Kevin Doherty (61), of Main Street, Eglinton, was also ordered to spend two years on probation following his release from prison. He will also be subject to a sexual offences prevention order for an indefinite period.
He admitted six charges of indecent assault and four of gross indecency between 1973 and 1981.
The court heard Doherty was 18 when the abuse began. By comparison, his victims were six and 16 and the court heard the abuse took place over a prolonged period of time.
The abuse came to light after a meeting in a local parochial house in August 2013 attended by the defendant, one of the victims and a local priest, after which the woman went to police accompanied by a member of the Derry Diocesan Safeguarding Team.
Passing sentence, Judge Philip Babington said the two victims were subjected to “callous and shameful abuse” and the jail sentence was both “necessary and appropriate”.
Speaking after their abuser was jailed, the victims thanked the judge for his sentencing comments which were “aimed at protecting children from the type of sexual abuse we endured”.
Encouraged other victims of sexual abuse to report it they said the five year sentence had given them back ‘self respect and self esteem’.
The NSPCC also issued a statement at the conclusion of the case. A spokesperson said: “The sentence imposed by the judge sends a strong message that offences against children are serious crimes as well as acknowledging the long-term and potentially devastating impact on the victims”.
Anyone affected by or concerned about abuse can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111 or the NSPCC helpline for adults who are concerned about a child on 0808 800 5000.