Northern Ireland

Fermanagh child abuse: 'Police could have stopped David Sullivan'

The Impartial Reporter
Image caption The allegations of historic sexual abuse in County Fermanagh has been reported in the Impartial Reporter newspaper

A man who was sexually abused over a four-year period as a child has said police could have stopped his abuser "on numerous occasions".

Over the last two months, almost 20 victims of historical sexual abuse in County Fermanagh have spoken to the Impartial Reporter newspaper.

Some have named David Sullivan as their abuser.

Police have said two people told them they had been attacked by Sullivan in the 1990s but he was not arrested.

One of his victims told BBC News NI that he was groomed by Sullivan, a former bus driver and youth club leader, from the age of 11 and abused more than a dozen times.

His comments come after police said they had appointed a team of specialist child abuse detectives to investigate historical claims of sex abuse in County Fermanagh.

'I didn't tell anybody'

On Thursday, the sister of a man who was abused 20 years ago said she had no confidence in a new investigation.

More people who say they were victims of sexual abuse in the county have come forward in the past 24 hours.

David Sullivan was killed in 1998 and his body buried in a bog. His murder remains unsolved.

Image caption David Sullivan's body was found in a bog near Belcoo in 2000

One of his victims told BBC News NI that he had been groomed by Sullivan before he was attacked for the first time in a "secluded lay-by" after they had attended a motor show.

"I was shocked, I kind of froze and I didn't tell anybody.

"You're embarrassed as to how you let yourself get into that position."

He added: "They (the police) could have stopped David Sullivan in his tracks on numerous occasions."

He said that Sullivan, when working as a bus driver, made children sit "on the small door in the cubicle where the driver sat".

'We need to come forward'

"I never saw him going by on the bus without some boy sitting on the small door in the cubicle.

"All of those people, all of those boys were probably like me, they got abused by Sullivan and it's actually infuriating, the police could have stopped all that," he added.

He said he hid the abuse for many years and has only recently been able to reveal what happened.

"They forced me to effectively lie to my family for the past 30 years and it was just like somebody took a weight off your shoulders to let you finally say out loud that this happened to me.

"We all need if we can to come forward, because what the police need is they need to see overlap of abusers.

"That is where these guys will be made to face their peers and answer for what they've done."

Image caption Numerous victims have told their story to journalist Rodney Edwards

Impartial Reporter journalist Rodney Edwards, who has investigated the reports of historical sex abuse, praised those who have come forward.

"I think because of the bravery and courage of victims over the last number of weeks, and in the last 24 hours, of coming forward and telling their story has prompted even more to feel the confidence that they will be believed and that this will be treated seriously," he said.

"And that is why it is so important know that anybody who's suffering as a result of historical sex abuse in this county come forward and the authorities look after them."

The new police team investigating historical abuse in Fermanagh want to hear from people who were abused, or know of others who were abused.

"We can only go where the evidence takes us so the more people that come forward the bigger picture we will have of what actually happened at the time," Det Supt Anne Marks said.

So far, 11 people have spoken to the new team of detectives and other victims say they will also be telling the police the names of their abusers.

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