It took six years to stop the abuse I suffered but by then the damage was done, my childhood stolen
BRAVE Simone knew reporting the pervert who stole her childhood would be the hardest thing she’d ever have to do.
Not just because she would have to face twisted Ivor Hogg, (pictured above) the cousin who subjected her to years of sickening sexual abuse, starting when she was aged just five-years-old, in court.
But because she would also have to pass his army of supporters – gathered from the local CHURCH – who spat at her and called her a “whore” and “slut” as she walked through the courtroom.
Today Simone tells her amazing true story of horror and bravery.
Simone said: “It was 8.40am on a Tuesday in February last year. I was 24, an agricultural student, and about to give evidence against my cousin Ivor Hogg, 31.
“He’d sexually abused me as a child. Now I’d come to get justice at Antrim Crown Court.” Simone told how the abuse started when Ivor was 13 – and she was just FIVE.
She added: “Ivor was my first cousin on my dad’s side and eight years older than me.
“As a toddler, I’d thought he was fun. But then one day, when I was five, he put his hands under my clothes.
“Even now, I remember my confusion vividly. I’d known it was wrong.
“But frozen with fear, I was powerless to stop it. ‘Your daddy would be so disappointed in you’, he’d sneer afterwards.
“I’d felt so ashamed and dirty, and hadn’t told anyone.
So the abuse continued at his family farm and my parents’ hardware store.
“I’d happily play with other cousins until Ivor showed up, forcing me to touch him.
“Then, after six tortuous years, I’d finally found the strength to push him away.
But the damage had been done, my childhood stolen. “Aged 14, I turned to vodka.
If I couldn’t stop the pain, then I’d numb it into oblivion. It seemed Ivor had no such demons.
“He ran Sunday school at church and the Boy’s Sexual Ivor Hogg
Brigade. He had everyone fooled. But when I’d guzzled handfuls of paracetemol one night, my terrified parents stepped in.
“When I’d sobbed out the whole story they were horrified.
Yet Ivor’s supporters ganged up against me, blaming me. It was soul-destroying.
“I suffered more agony when Dad suddenly died of a heart attack four months after. Grief put everything on hold, but finally, five year’s later, with Mum’s support, I reported Ivor to the police.
“He’d denied everything, but stepped down from his roles in the community.
“Then I was at court, preparing for the final showdown.” At the last minute Ivor pleaded guilty, but brave Simone still had to face him in court.
She said: “In the public gallery I saw many of those who’d turned against me. They glared at me, like a pack of baying wolves. ‘Slut’, they spat as I walked past them.
“They were still taking his side. Anger flamed, but I bit my lip and kept my eyes firmly fixed on the judge.
“I’d been warned not to look at Ivor in case it egged on his supporters. After the barristers took their seats, Ivor gave his plea of guilty to three counts of indecent assault. “The courtroom fell silent, and relief washed over me.
Finally, an acknowledgement of all the pain. I felt so liberated – yet walking out of court, the crowd still hurled abuse. ‘How could you do this?’ they shouted at me. ‘Whore’.
“But I held my head high, and mum threw her arms round me and said, ‘I’m so proud of you’.”
Despite Ivor’s pathetically short sentence, handed down because of his guilty plea, Simone knows she did the right thing.
She added: “A month on, Ivor was given a one-year sentence, suspended for three years.
Pitiful really, but my ordeal was over at last. “Now, a year later, I’m getting on with my life. I stood up to Ivor – and finally the world has seen him for the evil twisted bully he really is.”
Sex offender quits role at church
A convicted sex offender has stepped down from a senior position in a north Antrim church, following advice from Presbyterian headquarters.
Ivor Hogg, from Ballymoney, no longer has a leadership role on the committee of Drumreagh Presbyterian Church.
He received a suspended sentence for indecent assault last month.
The 31-year-old’s victim, his cousin Simone, waived her right to anonymity to speak out at how she was treated by some of the congregation.
It is understood meetings have taken place to address the fall-out from the case.
Simone, was abused as a child by her older cousin. The incidents happened when she was aged between five and 11.
Hogg, 31, from Greenville Avenue in Ballymoney, admitted three indecent assaults.