WHAT A DISGRACE; Daughter Abused by Pervert Human Rights Activist Vincent McKenna Slams His 3-Year Sentence

The Mirror (London, England), November 22, 2000 | Go to article overview

WHAT A DISGRACE; Daughter Abused by Pervert Human Rights Activist Vincent McKenna Slams His 3-Year Sentence


Byline: ELAINE KEOGH

THE abused daughter of human rights campaigner Vincent McKenna saw him jailed yesterday but said: "He didn't get long enough."

Sorcha McKenna, a 19-year-old law student, gave up her right to anonymity so her pervert father could be named.

He was sentenced yesterday to three years in jail for a series of sexual assaults on her between 1985 and 1993.

Standing outside Monaghan courthouse, the pretty brunette was clearly distressed by the ruling.

She said: "It was good to see him go to prison but he got the minimum sentence and I find that ridiculous.

"The past three years have been complete hell but the verdict in itself was something else, the sentence just doesn't reflect it at all."

Sorcha, who is studying law at Galway University, said she had hoped the sentence would have been greater when she first made a complaint.

She added: "I had hoped there would be a stronger sentence.

"At the same time it is all over now so hopefully we can get on with everything."

However, her grandfather Seamus McCleary was furious at the sentence.

He said: "It is disgraceful, it is no sentence at all, to put a child through that and for three years.

"I wonder was it because he was so high profile."

One of Sorcha's uncles, Ciaran McCleary, said he was hit in the face when he went to stop another family member from attacking McKenna as he was led away by prisoner officers.

The family later had lunch and three bottles of champagne in a hotel to celebrate the end of the ordeal.

McKenna, 37, denied 19 charges of indecent assault and 12 of sexual assault against his eldest daughter in their Monaghan home.

But Judge Matt Deery described the assaults on Sorcha as "continuous abuse, nearly routine".

A victim impact report found the abuse had "significantly impeded her psychological and emotional development".

The psychologist also found Sorcha to be suffering symptoms of post-traumatic stress as well as significant psychological distress.

Both Sorcha and her mother Fiona McCleary broke down as Judge Deery imposed a three-year prison term on each of the counts.

But he ordered that they run concurrently, so McKenna will spend no more than three years in jail.

McKenna, a self-confessed former IRA man who moved to Belfast and became a campaigner against terrorism, sat silently as sentence was passed.

He put his daughter through a three-day trial in Monaghan Circuit Court two weeks ago.

However, the jury had returned a guilty verdict in less than two hours.

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WHAT A DISGRACE; Daughter Abused by Pervert Human Rights Activist Vincent McKenna Slams His 3-Year Sentence
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