Former Deputy Mayor, Jim McKeever, is custody awaiting sentencing, for sexual abuse offences
SDLP Council Group Leader, Cllr Brian Tierney, has called on disgraced Councillor, Jim McKeever, to resign his seat on Derry City and Strabane District Council.
McKeever, who was formerly the Deputy Mayor, was convicted of child sex abuse offences at Belfast Crown Court last week.
He was suspended from the SDLP when the allegations emerged and expelled following his conviction.
Mr McKeever was found guilty of eight offences spanning a period from August 1981 to December 1988.
The victim, who was aged between seven and 14 when the abuse took place, said nothing would “erase” what McKeever had done.
McKeever has been remanded in custody until his sentencing in September.
The jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on six indecent assault charges, and found McKeever, who is from Tamneyreagh Park in Eglinton, not guilty of a seventh charge.
He was also convicted on two charges of gross indecency.
Cllr Tierney said: “Following his conviction for child sexual abuse last week it is time for Jim McKeever to do the right thing and resign his seat on Derry City and Strabane District Council.
“He has been convicted of some of the most horrendous crimes imaginable and he is unfit to serve or represent the people of our city.
“It is deeply regrettable that he has not already taken the decision to stand down.
“I speak for everyone in the SDLP when I offer my support and solidarity to the victim who came forward last week and detailed the ordeal she suffered at the hands of McKeever over a number of years.
“It was incredibly brave to share her experience and I hope it will give other victims and survivors of abuse the strength to come forward and seek justice for themselves.
“While I know it can be a very difficult and traumatic experience, particularly for those who suffered abuse as young children, anyone who discloses abuse will be treated with respect and dignity and directed to the proper services to support them.
“There can be no hiding place for abusers within our society.”
In an interview with the BBC, the woman, whose identity was withheld at her request, said she had first met him via a family member before the sexual abuse began.
She said: “Jim McKeever sexually abused me on multiple occasions. From a young age he started to touch me and it was just continuous for years.
“I was scared, I felt dirty all the time. It was just an awful time in my life.
“After it all stopped I kind of blocked it from my head… but when I started to go out and drink and stuff I would cry a lot.
“Looking back, when I became an adult, the stuff he did to me was completely wrong."
It wasn't until four years ago that she told her family of what McKeever had done to her.
She added: “In 2018, I decided I couldn't take anymore, and came out and told my mammy. It has been a long process, I am happy I have done it. I am out the other side of it and I am stronger for it.”
If you have been affected, or know of anyone who anyone who has been affected by the issues discussed above, the Domestic & Sexual Abuse runs a 24-hour helpline service.
The helpline is open on every day of the year. You can call them on: 0808 802 1414 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also log onto their website at: http://www.dsahelpline.org/
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