FF leader to meet woman at centre of claims she was abused by garda
Published 16/04/2014 | 02:30
A YOUNG woman who claims she was sexually assaulted as a child by a serving garda has described how the incident sent her on a "downward spiral" that resulted in two suicide attempts.
The woman claims the assault took place when she was six years old in the garda's home during a Christmas party in 1998 and that the original investigation into her complaint was flawed.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has agreed to meet her next week to discuss the latest disturbing allegations of garda malpractice to be made public.
Referring to the alleged attack, the woman said: "Our two families were friends at the time and we were over for a party. He (the garda) was playing hide-and-seek with us, including his own children.
"He caught me hiding in the sitting room on my own. He closed the door and sexually assaulted me for what seemed like a long time before anyone else came into the room."
The woman told the Irish Independent that she buried the memory of what happened but it re-emerged when she says she went "off the rails" as a young teenager.
"I was running away from home and self-harming. I had tried to commit suicide a couple of times. I felt that I was completely on my own," she said. "From 13 to 17 my life went into a complete downward spiral. I had no self-worth, and I was basically looking to ruin my own life.
"I was having flashbacks to that night for years."
She said that she eventually broke down and told her parents about what had happened.
She claims that the investigation into her complaint was flawed because it was conducted by a senior officer who worked with her father, who is also a garda, and her alleged attacker.
The woman is demanding an investigation into why the original complaint and subsequent investigation were not recorded on the garda Pulse system – which she alleges is evidence of an effort to cover it up.
A file was sent to the DPP following a garda investigation in 2007. It ruled there was insufficient evidence to sustain a criminal charge against the garda, who is still serving in the force.
She has doubts over whether the officer concerned was properly questioned.
The woman, who is now 22, broke her silence in the wake of allegations by the garda whistleblowers that several cases – including rape and assault cases – were not properly investigated by gardai.
The woman said she would urge Mr Martin to support her demand for a new investigation. "I honestly think that it was just brushed under the carpet by a lot of people.
"The investigation was a farce," she said.
"I feel that because he was a garda, they treated him differently."
Her father reported her allegations and an officer was appointed to investigate. A file was sent to the DPP and four months later it returned the decision not to proceed with a criminal charge.
"When the DPP decided that there was insufficient evidence, I felt completely let down by the justice system. I was very distraught," she said.
"I feel that the fact that he (alleged abuser) was a garda definitely was a contributory factor as to why my case wasn't looked at properly."
The woman said that the assault claims had left her parents deeply traumatised and in particular "has eaten up" her father who worked with and trusted the garda allegedly involved.