Victims’ lives ‘torn apart’ after rape by alleged IRA man
Last month a jury unanimously found Seamus Marley guilty of raping the two boys at a ‘republican safe house’ in Co Louth.
A court in Dublin has heard that the lives of two men were torn apart after they were raped as teenagers by an alleged IRA member.
Last month a jury unanimously found Seamus Marley, 45, originally from the Ardoyne area in Belfast, but with an address at Belfield Court, Stillorgan Road in Dublin, guilty of sexually assaulting the two boys while staying at a “republican safe house” in Co Louth more than two decades ago.
Marley was convicted of six counts of sexual assault and two counts of anal rape, which took place when he was staying in the area, and on camping trips he took with the boys, who were around 14 and 17 at the time of the attacks.
Marley is the son of Larry Marley, a prominent republican linked to the 1983 mass escape of republican prisoners from the Maze Prison, and who was later killed by the UVF.
At a sentencing hearing on Monday, both men gave victim impact statements detailing how their lives had been torn apart by the events, sending them into a spiral of alcohol addiction and struggles with their mental health.
For years I have lived in a mental state of despair, looking over my shoulder
The first man shook as he described his experience, and how he coped over the last three decades.
“I have lived in a mental state of despair, looking over my shoulder,” he said.
“After many years of breakdowns, alcohol and sleepless nights, today I move forward and live my life to the full.
“I can’t undo those years, but I can make the next few the most fulfilling for my wife and kids.”
The second man told the court that he had been a happy-go-lucky child, the “class clown”, and a talented boxer before he was attacked.
He said he had woken up one night to find Marley pushing his face into his pillow and anally raping him.
He said Marley bought him expensive gifts, and was often determined to spend time alone with him, turning up at his school to walk him home, attending his boxing matches, and phoning the house the victim was staying in while he was on holiday in Co Donegal.
He was convincing and I trusted him. He preyed on me, abused me and raped me
“I was at impressionable age, he built up a rapport with my family, and was constantly looking for time on his own with me, he was convincing and I trusted him,” he said.
“He preyed on me, abused me and raped me.
“As a young man I wasn’t developing, I tried to go on and complete my leaving certificate to do civil engineering, but I left school before I could finish – I had terrible anxiety I would fail.
“I already felt like a failure, I could box someone in the ring, but I couldn’t hold him off, what was wrong with me?
“He affected every part of my life – even boxing. I dreamt of going to the Olympics, but he turned up at a fight, and rubbed my hair, and all I could think from then on was if he would be staying in my house that night.
“He did, and he slept in my bed and abused me again. I carried on boxing but my heart wasn’t in it, secrets of my other life had me starving for air.
“I changed from being the comedian to someone more dependent on alcohol, I had trust issues.”
The man described how he spent time in a psychiatric hospital and a residential rehabilitation centre for those with addiction issues, and had considered suicide.
“The three weeks in court have been gruelling; I have been waking with terrors of Marley hurting me again,” he said.
If you are right and truthful, keep shouting, eventually someone will listen
“Getting the verdict doesn’t dissolve the internal scars, but the guilty verdict was the start of the healing.
“If you are right and truthful, keep shouting, eventually someone will listen.”
The court also heard a number of character references in support of Marley from his long-time partner, a Spanish man he has been with for 16 years, and a pastor from the church he is a member of.
They told of Marley’s charity work overseas, and described him as a “compassionate and loyal” person who has no previous convictions, and who had co-operated fully with police.
Detective Seamus Nolan told the court that Marley came from a large republican family and his father was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries, when Marley was a teenager.
Defence counsel John Fitzgerald said: “The Troubles visited his family in a direct and tragic way in how his father was murdered.
“This impact on a child doesn’t need to be emphasised but is worth emphasising.”
Mr Justice Paul McDermott deferred sentencing until Thursday morning.