Catholic-Supported Sex Abuser Gets Reduced Sentence For Being Female

I’m sure you’ll have been horrified by the details of the case in Roscommon where a mother sexually abused her children, starved them and kept them in filthy conditions.

There are a couple of other things about this case that puzzle me.

Firstly, the judge sentenced the woman to seven years in prison, but would have preferred to impose a life sentence.  This option was not available because the defendant is a woman.  A man could be sent to jail for life, but the 1908 Punishment of Incest Act specifies a maximum sentence of seven years for a woman committing incest.

Now you might think that this anomaly exists because of the strange Victorian attitudes back in 1908, but you’d be wrong.  The Punishment of Incest Act 1908 was amended in 1995 by the Criminal Law (Incest Proceedings) Act, which left the penalties unchanged.  Life for a man and seven years for a woman.

Why?  I don’t know.

Secondly, it now seems that the children’s suffering was needlessly prolonged.  The Health Board first became aware of the abuse in 1996, and eventually arrived at an arrangement for the children to be cared for by relatives.  However, in September 2000, the woman applied for, and received, a High Court order preventing the Health Board from placing the children in care.  Social workers gave evidence at the trial that they believed a right-wing Catholic organisation had helped the woman to apply for the order.

A childcare manager testified that he had been approached by a woman called Mí­na Bean Uí­ Chribín who told him that the family needed support, not intrusive action.

Do you remember this woman?  I do.  Also known as Mena Cribben.  A screaming, fanatical Catholic nutcase who for decades has been trying to impose a demented Taliban society on us.  Remember SPUC, Family Solidarity and all the rest of them?  That was Mína, the mad old bat.

So there you have it.  Mí­na’s idea of showing solidarity with a family is to let the children be sexually abused and starved.  Better than breaking them up.

That’s Catholics for you: always supporting the Family.


The Criminal law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006 states as follows:

2 (2) Any person who attempts to engage in a sexual act with a child who is under the age of 15 years shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life or a lesser term of imprisonment.

Therefore, it appears to me that a person committing any similar offence today would risk life in prison regardless of their gender.


Also on Bock:


All Mena Cribben posts

Father  Sentenced to 14 Years for Raping His Child
The Heart of Darkness
Josef Fritzl

30 thoughts on “Catholic-Supported Sex Abuser Gets Reduced Sentence For Being Female

  1. There is most definitly something more going on in this case than meets the eye. Lots of people went through that house, and yet nobody knew anything and she was the only one involved, and as luck would have it she admits everything straight away and only gets this pathetic sentence. And why the ardent support of this catholic group? Something smells very wrong, very wrong indeed.

  2. What I noticed Bock was that the woman wasnt charged with rape. A man in the same position would have been, as the child was under the age of consent. Having said that, it may well be, (I’m certainly no expert), that being forced to have sex with your mother is not as damaging as being forced to have sex with your father, so maybe there is justification for a discrepancy in sentencing when it comes to rape. But incest is a different matter. The only rational reason for this to be an offence at all is that deformed children are more likely to result from the practice (otherwise, its just sex between consenting adults, right?). There is therefore no logical reason that I can see to treat a woman more leniently than a man, both would be equally culpable. It all just goes to show that the law in this are a is completely ridiculous, as was highlighed last year in the C(?) case/law of consent scandal.

  3. And another thing. If it was any other section of society (friends or relatives of the family) who were trying to keep the HSE away from the family, I would have a fair amount of sympathy. After all, look at how the state has handled children in its care over the years, it leaves, eh, a bit to be desired, I think we can say. But when its a catholic group, who have helped their church, through their blind support over the years, to commit the same atrocities on children, well, I’m kind of speechless. I would like to hear what they have to say, just to get a handle on what kind of people they are.

  4. Time accountability was prioritised, I would start by shooting, but then I’m not much into rehab as there’s no such thing in any case, plus it’s not up to me, is it?

  5. Well done, I had a sense of deja vu when I saw Mrs Cribbin’s name mentioned in the Times today. I was worried that I might be the only person who remembered the vindictive old biddy. Whoever these people are, they need to be outed.

  6. Bock, to be semantically and otherwise correct, she did not get “a reduced sentence for being female”.

    She received a lesser maximum sentence – than a man could have received from the same judge, for the same offence – because she is female.

    The Cribín angle will run and run. I’m trying to remember if she was in one of those organisations with its name in Irish – Muintir Na hÉireann? – that were ‘pro-life’, unless you were a Brit.

  7. What is it with these wingnuts and the use of the Irish form of their names? I’ve nothing against Gaelige (my family are Gaelgoirs) but it’s enough to give a whole language a bad name

  8. Conan – We could debate the semantics of it, but I’m inclined to stick with the original header.

    Of course I know the sentence wasn’t reduced from a theoretical maximum, but since the Act applies a reduced penalty to women compared with the sentence prescribed for men, all convicted women automatically get a reduced sentence.

    That’s only my take on it, and it’s a peripheral issue anyway, but I know what you’re saying. It’s a matter of how you look at it. I noticed one well-known bombast making great play of my use of the word reduced, but that’s because he’s still picking at an old scab.

    Mina Cribben has been in every lunatic-fringe religious group since the dawn of time. I can still remember her demented, anguished, sexually-frustrated, bulging-eyed features on the Late Late Show centuries ago. I’m surprised the old bitch is still alive.

  9. “but since the Act applies a reduced penalty to women compared with the sentence prescribed for men”… at the risk of being pedantic(!) Lesser, not reduced!

    Sex with a minor is sex with a minor… whether incestuous or not, or committed by a male or female.

    I do wonder if sentences in all categories discriminate on gender grounds, and if the guilty plea secured the charge with the lesser maximum sentence?

  10. That depends on whether they began with the sentence for men and worked backwards from it, or whether they chose them at the same time. Since this is unknowable, we’re both right.

    However, it’s a minor point, though reduced works better for me in the headline. Despite that, I wouldn’t object to lesser, smaller or shorter. I’d even go with more lenient, softer or easier. I might draw the line at gentler though.

    What I’d like to know is whether the 1908 act was the only option available for bringing charges.

  11. I suspect there’s more behind this than one very twisted wingnut like that old harridan Cribben. It looks like she is only the very nasty face of some or other organisation or network that is mostly shadowly in the background. This matter needs to be investigated both by the authorities and by the media. If it emerges that any of the elected representatives of the people in Roscommon had any association with Cribben (or should that be Crippen? I hope the voters will know what to do at the next election.

  12. -Fintan
    [The following comment does not necessarily reflect the views of the proprieter of this site]

    I was thinking the same type of thing. This is pure speculation, but this was a single mother with a drink problem. A woman who spent alot of time drowning her sorrows. A woman who lived less than 10 minutes walk from the local church, and even less from the house of the mistress of the local primary school where her children would have gone, baring in mind this is a very rural part of the country. It seems to me that the most horrific of sexual abuses haven’t occcurred in single instances, but under oraganised rings. Catholic priest are perhaps the best example but there has always been a complicity, either in the act or the cover-up, by the ‘institution’, which counts as an organised ring in my view. That house often had a few cars parked infront of it and I can’t stop the idea coming to mind that she was not the only one involved. That this so called catholic group were there to cover the trail and protect others who may have been involved.
    The fact that a woman would face a lesser sentence was no secret. There is just something (apart from the obvious) that is very wrong about this whole thing.

  13. I don’t read it that way.

    The son who gave his evidence in court didn’t say anything about abusers apart from his mother, and we have always had these Catholic ideologues lecturing us about The Family.

    It doesn’t surprise me in the least that they would be prepared to sacrifice children on the altar of their insane principles.

  14. I can’t believe that foul old besom, Mina Cribben, is still polluting Irish society. And to hell with the abuser’s gender. What happened to the Christian idea of hanging a millstone around the necks of those who “offend these little ones?” Or was that only for anyone who might introduce a child to the idea that religion is a load of old cobblers?

  15. The original law envisaged that men commit the crime, and should face life. Women, on the other hand are seen as permitting their male relatives to have their way, and that offence is treated as a misdemeanour.

  16. That woman was a dirty selfish animal. If she couldn’t look after one child why did she have six? I doubt she was working either, so we funded that revolting human being’s lifestyle. Where was the father/s as well? It is so sad, and shame on all the community and classmates of those kids who mocked and laughed at them. The eldest son was a very brave boy to stand up in court. It’s amazing how some people are so strong after going through so much.

  17. -Elle
    The community (though I’m hesitant to use the word ‘all’) did not know what was happening. They were just as shocked and disgusted as you are. As for the classmates of the children, kids are always cruel little bastards and as they look back, knowing now what was happening, they will indeed feel shame.
    You’re right about that boy though. He was very brave.

  18. I sure hope those kids will somehow, eventually recover from their dreadful ordeal

    and go on to lead meaningful and happy lives. A lot of questions need to be asked – and answered. Especially if that gruesome person Cribben had help when she went to the High Court.

    Clearly, the mother is a hopelessly inadequate person who was not in control of her life. She deserves pity despite the evil deeds she committed, and the really guilty ones are those who actively intervened to prevent the authorities from doing their job and helping the children.

    Could it be that some or other of the prominent lawyers who are members of that cancerous organisation Opus Dei gave their services pro bono as nutbars like them would see it?

  19. This of course is a disturbing and shameful case of child neglect and abuse. People of the community where it occured, have admitted they knew that the children were neglected and of the inability of that bitch(not mother-she does not deserve such a title)to look after her children properly. This is a small village. The abuse would have been apparent(though it is claimed no one knew of the sexual abuse), but no one actually had the courage to step in and report seriously to the gardai the abuse these children suffered.
    Our laws are outdated and irrelevant in an age when it is now clear a mother can inflict such disgusting sexual abuse upon her children,hence the 7 year sentence she received for one of teh convictions for incest. Such laws clearly needs to be updated.
    The catholic church(though not an institution held in high regard by myself), does not deserve the attention it is getting in terms of pointing he finger in this case. However it is clear that within the Irish legal system traditional religous ethics of protecting he family and the high standing of the church legally, prevented these poor innocent children from receiving the proper intervention they needed.
    Regarding the social workers,teachers etc.,this is again a case of people perhaps been too P.C. and not having the courage, insight and incentive to take action and protect the children. I’m aware that they could not step beyond there outlined duties, but at some stage one has to wonder how could action not have been taken sooner.
    Ui Chroibin= should be getting the punishment she deserves for her BONKERS part. Think she runs a post office in N.Dublin now…?

    I am aware I am going on a bit, but like you all I am just so outraged by this story and need a forum to vent.
    Let us never allow such a tragic case happen again, here or elsewhere.

  20. -Ali
    When did the people of this community admit they knew what was going on? Please provide some backing for that statement.
    The house is not in a village. It is in a rural area and while you’re being so quick to judge ask yourself this question, are you sure that this is not happening right now in your own community, and if it was does that make you responsible?

  21. C’est La Craic

    I tend to agree with you. There’s a big difference between suspecting that something is amiss and actually knowing it.

    Besides, according to reports in today’s paper, the village in question had “previous experience” of what happens when people are seen to be rocking the boat or raising awkward questions. It seems that there were suspicions around 20 years ago that someone was molesting little girls there and allegations were made.

    The result was that the community was split down the middle when people took sides and no prosecutions were ever made. That made people wary of getting involved again.

    See here.

    The real problem is that the authorities have too little power to intervene and must constantly live in fear of injunctions and similar actions by far-right religious fundamentalist organisations and scumbags like that auld Cribben wan!

    As for that village, I wish I knew it’s name so that I can put the boot down in case I’m ever driving through it. Bit like the tramp who said about a certain place in Co. Offaly: “I walked through every town in Ireland, but I ran through Daingean.”

  22. fair enough that bitch of a mother deserved to get life for what she done but to think that mena actually knew what was going on is unbelievable! she is a mother herself and recomend ed that social services help the family… im sure there are people closer to this family that shud have spoken up sooner, how could you not see what was going on there–the poor kids. mena has helped a lot of people over the years, ok so some of her ideas are a bit out there but theres not much she could have known up there in dublin with that monster living in roscommon….

  23. You sound like a young person, so let me point out that I’ve been experiencing Mena Cribben probably since before you were born.

    Mena’s a nutter.

  24. Mina should be done for assisted child abuse and every other thing they can fire at her, as well as every fucking teacher and adult that knew about this shit and turned a blind eye. What about the publican that sold this bitch drink all day and let her home when teh childrens allowance was all gone to do what she wanted to her kids…people knew, they always do, and all that it takes for women like this to triumph is for good people to do nothing

  25. there IS more to this case that’s meets the eye. i heard from someone in that village that there will soon be another accused brought to the courts in relation to this case so possibly the reduced sentence was as a result of the mother giving evidence against this new defendant? i don’t know – can the DPP do that?

  26. i hope he does not get parole before the 7 years are served. she needs to serve every second of her measley sentence.
    after all, she had a chance to do right by her children by letting them go rather than fight for them in the high court.

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