Parents deny they sexually abused son over four-year period
Published 06/04/2016 | 02:30
A Waterford man and woman sexually abused and exploited their son when he was aged between five and nine, it has been alleged at the Central Criminal Court.
The father of the boy is also accused of raping him over the four-year period.
The parents deny the charges and told gardaí that the boy was a "difficult child" who had ADHD and behavioural problems.
They face a total of 82 charges of abuse between 2007 and 2011 in Waterford.
The pair have pleaded not guilty to 16 counts each of sexual exploitation and one charge each of child cruelty.
The mother has also denied 16 counts of sexual assault, while the father denies 16 counts of anal rape and 16 counts of sexual assault with an implement.
In her opening address, prosecuting counsel Pauline Walley SC told the jury the child first told a teacher in school about alleged physical abuse by his father. Social workers became involved and the boy was taken into care.
Ms Walley said that "over an extended period of time", the boy made further allegations of sexual abuse against his parents.
A medical examination was carried out on the child, which found no physical trauma related to sexual assault.
However, the examining doctor said this did not exclude the possibility of sexual abuse occurring, Ms Walley said.
While the child was in foster care, he told specialist garda interviewers about the alleged abuse. Last April, he told one of his carers that he "made up" the allegations of sexual abuse and that only physical abuse occurred.
The court heard gardaí spoke to the boy again, and he said the allegations were true and that he had said they weren't because he was afraid of the forthcoming trial.
Ms Walley told the jury that real life and criminal trials are not like TV and events are rarely clear.
She said that jurors must not speculate on what might have happened and must judge the case on the evidence alone.
The trial, before Mr Justice Robert Eagar, continues tomorrow when the jury will hear from the child.