Belfast Telegraph

Ex-barman Martin Leonard jailed for sex abuse of his wife's sisters

By George Jackson

A former barman from Londonderry has been jailed for 18 months for sexually abusing two sisters over 30 years ago, before and after he married their oldest sister.

Martin Leonard (58) was found unanimously guilty in May of seven charges of indecently assaulting the two sisters, one of them between 1977 and 1981 and the other between 1985 and 1989.

The assaults took place when the girls were aged between 12 and 16 years of age, mainly in Leonard's car and in the girls' family home.

Leonard's two victims last week waived their rights to anonymity to enable him to be named.

He will spend six months in prison and 12 on probation. He will also be barred from working with children and vulnerable adults for 10 years.

Judge Elizabeth McCaffrey said that when one of the sisters went with a friend to report the abuse to her parish priest in 1987 in the White Chapel, he "told her to keep her mouth shut, not to break up the family, which I must say I find rather concerning".

Speaking after Leonard was jailed, one of the victims described the trial process as horrendous.

She added: "It was a dreadful experience. I did not know at the time when I reported the abuse to my local priest who told me to shut up that he was in fact advising my sister and Leonard in terms of marriage counselling.

"I found the priest very dismissive and he said, did I realise I would be breaking up the family. I found that weird."

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