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