A 27-year old Dublin woman has been given a three year suspended sentence after she pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a fourteen-year-old female relative.
The court heard that the accused and the girl both claimed they loved one another at the time.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of sexual assaulting the girl at a house in County Meath on dates between 1st and 31st December 2010.
Judge Desmond Hogan remarked that the case was an 'unusual but serious case' in which the woman had taken advantage of a young person.
He said he was unsure whether the defendant has full knowledge and understanding of the consequences of what she did and has some way to go until she realises the full consequences.
Garda Graham Weeks told Anne Rowland BL, prosecuting, that the victim's father went to gardaí when he found letters written by his daughter.
He said the letters suggested his 14-year-old daughter was having sexual relations with a cousin of his ex-wife's.
The victim told gardaí that her mother's cousin started to text her in June 2010 but that they had known one another her all her life and that she knew the accused was a lesbian.
The girl said in October of that year, she went to McDonalds with her mother's cousin and her sister, and that while they were there she got a text from the accused asking to meet in the toilets.
The accused kissed her in the cubicle and the teenage girl said she was “in shock”.
The teenager said she went to stay with her mother in County Meath “before the snow” in December 2010 and was sharing a bed with the defendant.
The victim said she went to bed earlier and that when the accused joined her later she touched her private parts and put her finger into the victim's vagina.
The teenage girl said the same thing happened again later that week and that she felt both “happy and sad” when the accused went back to her own house at the end of the week.
The victim said her mother's cousin sent her “a nice message” and that they then started texting a few times a day and she developed feelings and felt like the accused was her girlfriend.
She said she was upset and sad when her father found out about the relationship.
Gda Weeks said the letters written by the girl, on the suggestion of her counsellor, say she told the accused she was in love with her in the summer of 2010.
The teenager also describes how she and the accused were holding hands and flirting on the bus, and that on another occasion the victim went to the accused's house and they engaged in oral sex.
The court heard that the teenage girl had a fragile disposition, had run away from home and had taken too much medication at one stage.
In a victim impact statement, the girl said she felt “cheated and let down” by the accused and had undergone counselling.
Defence counsel Caroline Biggs SC said the accused has a deep regret and remorse for what she has done to the victim, and that there was no use of threat, force or violence.
“It was consensual, the complainant said she was not frightened, and there were genuine feelings between them...in so far as a 14-year-old can have feelings,” said Ms Biggs.
Ms Biggs said that although her client had breached the child's trust, “in a warped and dysfunctional way, she did love that child” and the child loved her.
A psychologist's report stated the accused had a “chaotic, unstable and traumatic childhood” and had been a victim of sexual abuse herself at a very young age.
The report added that her mother had been incapable of looking after her children and had drank herself to death.
Judge Hogan also ordered that the woman be supervised by the Probation Services for a period of two years.