A woman is to be sentenced later this month after she pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two young boys in Kerry in the 1990s.
69-year-old Josephine McMahon of Railway Road, Kenmare pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to two sample counts of sexually assaulting two brothers at an address in Kerry on dates between 1992 and 1996.
They were aged between four and five, and between eight and 12 respectively at the time of the abuse, which occurred when they were visiting the house she lived in.
The victims wanted her to be named publicly.
The court heard Josephine McMahon was minding the youngest complainant, when she fell over; the boy, then aged about four or five, laughed.
She took him to a bathroom, produced a wooden spoon, and sexually assaulted him with it.
She told him: “You won't laugh at me again”, and told him if he screamed it would be worse.
She ran him a bath as he was bleeding and repeatedly told him it was his own fault.
As an adult, the complainant told gardaí he still remembers it to this day.
The court heard that from then on, Josephine McMahon started to undress herself around the boy and asked him if he wanted to touch her; she started going to the toilet in front of him.
During the second sexual assault, Josephine McMahon urinated in the boy’s bath and when he protested, she once again assaulted him with the wooden spoon.
A third sexual assault of a similar nature occurred in a bedroom.
In his victim impact statement, the complainant said he has suffered from crippling depression and anxiety as a result of the abuse.
He said he struggled with addiction issues as a teenager and has had suicidal thoughts.
The second complainant, the older brother, was abused by Josephine McMahon on a number of occasions when he was aged between eight and 12.
The court heard she touched him inappropriately, often when they were passing each other in a narrow hallway.
She exposed herself to him in the toilet and threatened him with the wooden spoon, although she did not sexually assault him with it.
In his victim impact statement, he said Josephine McMahon had engaged in heinous abuse, and that she robbed him of his childhood, and sense of safety and security.
He said the abuse has affected him and his family.
Addressing the complainants, Ms Justice Karen O'Connor said they had nothing to be ashamed of, and commended them for coming forward, saying their disclosures could help other children.
The court heard the maximum sentence for sexual assault during the relevant period is five years.
Michael Bowman, SC for Josephine McMahon handed in a short letter of apology.
The court heard she has no previous convictions, lives an isolated life, and has a number of health issues, has no children, nor any access to children.
He said it would be a matter of stigma and shame for his client when the abuse she perpetrated was publicised in the community.
Josephine McMahon will be placed on the Sex Offenders Register.
Ms Justice Karen O'Connor adjourned the case until June 26th for sentencing.
If you are impacted by the issues mentioned in this story, you can contact:
The Samaritans on 116 123
One in Four, which works with adults who have experienced childhood sexual abuse and their families, on 01 662 4070
The Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre on 1800 633 333
The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre on 1800 77 8888.