Friday 21 July 2017

Dolls girl (13) had sex with men, trial told

Anita Guidera

A TROUBLED teenage girl secretly played with Barbie dolls at a time when she was also having sex with older men in a small rural town, a court has been told.

At Donegal Circuit Court yesterday, a 26-year-old man denied three charges of sexually assaulting the then 13-year-old girl in a primary school yard shelter on consecutive nights in September 2003, when he was aged 19.

The alleged victim spent several months in the care of the Health Board in 2001 and was placed in care for a second time in December 2003, for the remainder of her childhood.

In the opening day of the trial before a jury of 10 men and two women, the girl told how she had kept a diary and lists of men with whom she had sex or 'shifted' or "was with in a sexual way".

At the age of 13, she had already almost dropped out of school, and was drinking and staying out late with friends.

She met the accused man in a local fast food restaurant in the company of her friends where she recalled a conversation where he had asked her age and she told him she was 13.

She told the court that she had sex with him on the night of September 18, in a shelter in the grounds of a local primary school.

She said they waited in the shelter until the security light went out before they had sex.

She explained that they did not use condoms because she was taking a contraceptive injection at the time.

She said the accused man had met her mother as well as her alcoholic stepfather, with whom he had had a drink on at least one occasion.

Dumbfounded

Desmond Murphy, counsel for the accused, said that his client, who taken her her home, was dumbfounded when he discovered her real age.

"He laboured under a genuine mistake as to her age," he said.

The girl's activities came to light in December 2003 when her older sister went to the gardai with a page containing a list of men that she had torn from her copy book.

She was questioned by gardai and shortly afterwards became the subject of an emergency care order.

For the following five years she was moved around between a number of residential centres, finally ending up in a secure unit in Dublin where, the court heard, she finally settled down.

"I was locked in. I couldn't drink. I had to engage in a programme of classes and therapy that helped me realise what had happened to me was wrong. I had been a victim of sexual abuse," she said.

In a statement to gardai in April 2004, the accused claimed that the girl "made the first move".

He told gardai he had sex with her about twice a fortnight over a two to three-month period but he thought she was 17 years old.

The trial before Judge Gerard Griffin continues.

Irish Independent

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