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Monday, 20 November, 2000, 22:31 GMT
Abused daughter relives her nightmare
McKenna was convicted at Monaghan Circuit Court
McKenna was convicted at Monaghan Circuit Court
The daughter of a former human rights campaigner who sexually abused her has been reliving her ordeal.

Vincent McKenna, 37, from Haypark Avenue in Belfast will be sentenced by a court in the Irish Republic on Tuesday for the sexual abuse of his daughter, Sorcha over a period of eight years, between 1985 and 1993.

Sorcha McKenna's story will be featured on BBC Northern Ireland's Spotlight programme on Tuesday.

In the programme, the 18-year-old says she is glad her father has now been exposed as a paedophile.

She says: "I can't say it was easy at all.

Sorcha McKenna:
Sorcha McKenna: "It was hell the past couple of years"
"Really it was hell the past couple of years, but to think that some good will come out of the whole thing, to think that he won't be able to hurt anybody else again."

Sorcha McKenna wanted her father to be named and shamed for putting her through an eight year ordeal of sexual abuse.

As a result she waived her right to anonymity, and destroyed McKenna's carefully-constructed reputation as a champion of human rights.

She says: "He would be campaigning for the rights of children and stuff like that, when all along he had put me through hell..... me and my family."

"It sickened me that he was being so hypocritical and no-one could see that except me and my family."

Vincent McKenna courted the media at every opportunity.

He worked for the anti-violence group, Families Against and Intimidation and Terror, before setting up the Northern Ireland Human Rights Bureau.

Once at the Ulster Hall, the former IRA man was given a standing ovation at a rally to support the RUC.

Vincent McKenna: Victims' campaigner
Vincent McKenna: Victims' campaigner
Vincent McKenna consistently denied his daughter's allegations, forcing Sorcha to relive her ordeal in the witness box at Monaghan Courthouse.

Last weekend he was found guilty on 31 counts of sexually abusing her.

The accused, who denied the charges, was remanded in custody until 21 November when he will be sentenced.

Sorcha is now building a new life for herself, studying for a degree at university.

She hopes to become a lawyer, specialising in human rights.

Sorcha's story can be seen on the Spotlight programme at 2235 GMT on Tuesday.

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See also:

10 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Victims' campaigner guilty of sex abuse
13 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Granny talks of abuse victim's ordeal
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