The victims of a Halifax man jailed for 10 years for sexually abusing them while he was babysitting have spoken of how they kept their horrific experiences hidden for decades.
Kevin Dolan, 47, was found guilty of offences involving the two girls while he was supposed to be looking after them when he was 18.
He was convicted on one charge of rape, three of indecent assault and one of indecency with a child.
The offences came to light after Dolan, of Ling Bob Croft, Highroad Well, allegedly left a note denying he had done anything to the youngsters years earlier.
The other girl involved was aged only four at the time.
It was not until the youngest girl’s 21st birthday that they first spoke to one another about the abuse they had suffered.
So painful were their ordeals, they did not speak about what had happened again until years later.
“I just didn’t want to talk about it,” said one of the victims.
They said they finally decided they had to go to the police about what happened after the note, fearing someone else could become a victim.
The abuse had led to a troubled lifestyle for one of the victims, including drug abuse.
The other says the support of her husband has been vital in dealing with her experiences.
They urged anyone who has suffered any kind of abuse to contact the police, no matter how long ago it happened.
“I’d urge people to be brave,” said one. “There is the fear that you won’t be believed and you worry what people will think but I felt such relief when everyone did.”
Jailing him when he appeared before Leeds Crown Court, Judge Colin Burn said he had taken account of Dolan’s youth at the time but the offences were serious.
There were similarities in the circumstances of each of the offences on the two girls and the way he referred to them each as his “special person” which had proved compelling evidence to the jury.
“Anyone who saw them give evidence would conclude they have suffered long-lasting and deep-seated damage as a result of the offences you perpetrated on them many years ago,” he said.
He added there was no reduction in sentence for him based on the considerable time it had taken the offences to come to light because the complainants had “bottled up or suppressed their trauma for a long period of time”.
As well as the 10-year prison sentence, Dolan was ordered to register as a sex offender indefinitely.
Christopher Tehrani, representing Dolan, said he had been left in charge of the girls for only brief periods and continued to deny the offences had happened. He said Dolan his own personality problems which would make prison extremely difficult for him.
Detective Inspector Gail Lawrie, who led Calderdale District Safeguarding Unit at the time of the investigation into Dolan, said: “West Yorkshire Police takes all reports of abuse extremely seriously.
“This case highlights the bravery of the victims in coming forward, having the confidence to report such horrific abuse, and the police having the specialist resources, facilities and partnership arrangements to bring dangerous offenders to justice and continue to safeguard and protect the public from serious harm.
“This case involved very young vulnerable children being looked after and supposedly cared for by a person in a position of trust who was seen as a close family friend. Dolan took advantage of this for his own sexual gratification.
“As a mother myself I can only imagine the heartache and suffering the victims and their families went through. There is nothing more important and precious in life than your child and their safety and well being.
“Whilst physical abuse may cease, the impact of such vile acts remain with the victims throughout their lives. I hope that the sentence will bring some closure to the victims.”