A 50-year-old man from Nicosia was sentenced on Thursday to seven years in prison for each of the 68 charges he was found guilty of concerning the sexual exploitation of his stepdaughter.
The sentences will run concurrently.
The offences took place between 2008 and 2013 when the child was between 10 and 15 and the defendant 40 and 45. He faced similar charges for 2014 but was acquitted due to doubt.
The offences against the girl took place at home when the mother was not in the house, usually when she was at work, and were carried out in an atmosphere of fear and threats, the court said.
The victim, the court said, found the courage to break her silence and tell her mother what she had been through in 2016, at the age of 18, after her mother had divorced the defendant and they had moved to another house.
The young woman said the only reason she decided to speak up was out of fear that her little sister, who is now eight and is the biological child of the defendant, might go through the same.
Such was the girl’s despair at the time, the court said, that the age of 12 she slit her wrists, not to commit suicide but to make the defendant feel sorry for her and stop abusing her.
“Instead, the defendant, from the very next year, upgraded the sexual exploitation,” the court said.
“It is impossible for a third observer to feel what the child was going through, trapped for years in a house, knowing that whenever her mother was missing she was prey to the sexual desires of the accused,” it said. All this, it added, led to the victim losing any sense of self-esteem and self-respect. The girl had told court during the hearing process that she was disgusted by herself.
The Nicosia criminal court sentenced the man to seven years in prison for each of the 68 charges he was found guilty of. The decision of the court was not unanimous, as two judges ruled he was guilty while the chairman of the court, Leonidas Kalogirou, said he found the accused not guilty.
The court also took into account, that “the accused did not show any remorse for his despicable acts by refusing to admit to committing the offenses until the end.”
This, court said, had led to the victim to experience again during the hearing the painful incidents “that constitute the total criminal behaviour of the accused”.