A WOMAN has told a jury that her mother’s boyfriend regularly gave her money or sweets as a reward for sexual acts throughout her childhood.
The 23-year-old woman is one of six sisters who allege they were sexually abused in their home by their mother’s former partner.
The 52-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 62 counts of sexual assault.
The witness was giving evidence on day six of the trial, and is the third sister to take the stand.
Questioned by Mary Rose Gearty SC, prosecuting, the woman said the abuse started when she was about six or seven years old.
“He started putting his hands in my underwear or up my T-shirts,” she said.
She told the court that the abuse happened about three times each week and would take place in the kitchen, sitting room or one of the bedrooms.
“He’d touch me or make me touch him,” the complainant said.
The woman said that after being sexually abused, the man would sometimes give her a reward, such as money, sweets or a yogurt.
She said her mother’s partner would often bang on the floor while upstairs in bed. This was a signal to one of the sisters that he wanted something.
The woman said that when one of the girls went upstairs, “he would grab your arm and make you do something.”
The complainant said the man slept completely naked, and would regularly expose himself to the sisters when they came into the room.
The jury heard that she was sometimes asked to put his penis in her mouth and she said the accused man liked to wear a chain around his genitals.
She told the court that on one occasion, she was in the shower when the man entered the bathroom, pulled back the curtain, sat down and started laughing at her.
She also told the court that he would often tell she was sexy, before adding: “He used to take pictures of his private area and show you the pictures.”
During cross examination, Giollaiosa O Lideadha SC, defending, said: “I’m going to suggest to you that your allegations are untrue and you have been influenced by your sisters.”
The woman refused to accept this.
M O Lideadha put it to the woman that she was “a bit of a loner growing up” and had gone along with her sisters’ allegations so she would fit in.
He suggested that what she recalled were “not true memories” and questioned whether she had spoken to her sisters about their evidence in advance of the trial.
The woman argued that her evidence was true and claimed that she had not spoken in any detail with her sisters about the case.
Earlier, one of the witnesses’ older sisters broke down in tears during cross examination, when it was suggested to her that she seemed to have forgotten things said earlier in evidence.
The 26-year-old woman started sobbing and said: “I’ll never forget it. I walked into a room full of strangers to tell my story.”
When questioned about facts that appeared to be missing from her statements to gardai, she argued: “I was abused throughout my whole childhood. I can’t put everything onto one piece of paper.”
Mr O Lideadha pointed out that the woman had given conflicting accounts of when the alleged abuse stopped.
“It never stopped, because it actually never started,” he said.
“It’s true. Everything I said is true,” the complainant replied.
The trial continues in front of Judge Desmond Hogan and a jury of six men and five women.