Monday 19 March 2018

Girl who made sex abuse allegation was daughter of McCabe colleague

Main: Sgt Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine at the the tribunal. Picture: Collins
Main: Sgt Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine at the the tribunal. Picture: Collins
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The young girl who made an allegation of sexual abuse against whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe was the daughter of his garda colleague, the Disclosures Tribunal heard.

The tribunal was told that the officer had named Sgt McCabe, in a meeting with a social worker, shortly after his daughter filed a criminal complaint.

Tusla social worker Rhona Murphy described how she met the girl, known as Ms D, in 2005 when she was working as an intake social worker in the HSE's child protection team in Cavan.

The girl's parents were concerned about the then-14-year-old as she had been running away from home and engaging in sexual activity.

Under examination from tribunal counsel Kathleen Leader BL, Ms Murphy said Ms D's mother had called, saying her daughter had made a complaint about "a man", alleging that during a game he had held her over the sofa.

Everyone was fully clothed, but there was an allegation "humping" occurred. The incident was said to have happened when Ms D was six or seven.

Ms D subsequently made a statement to gardaí on December 6, 2006.

Ms Murphy said a meeting of a HSE social worker team was convened and it was agreed to refer Ms D's case to the HSE's child sexual abuse (CSA) team.

During the course of a subsequent meeting with Ms D and her parents, the girl's father identified Sgt McCabe as the person against whom the allegation had been made, Ms Murphy said.

Sgt McCabe's wife and children's names were recorded during this meeting.

Ms D was asked at the meeting if she would be happy for a copy of her statement to go to the CSA team so she would not have to go through the detail again. She agreed.

Ms Murphy told the tribunal that Noel Cunningham, a garda inspector in the Cavan/Monaghan division, would have provided the team with a copy directly.

Ms Murphy said that on December 14, 2006, she sent handwritten notes to members of the CSA team.

Ms Leader said it appeared that the notes were intended to be shared with Insp Cunningham, as there was a note attached saying: "FAO Noel Cunningham".

But Ms Murphy said she had no recollection of sending any documentation herself to the inspector. The tribunal heard documents show that the same month, Ms D informed the CSA team that Sgt McCabe had inappropriately touched her.

There was also a note that a file had been sent to the DPP, but a prosecution was not recommended.

Ms Murphy said she closed the file on Ms D in October 2007, on the instruction of the CSA team, and sent letters to two of her superiors about this decision.

The letters noted that Sgt McCabe had not been met by the social worker team.

She told the tribunal it was intended he would be met by social workers from Meath, as Sgt McCabe acted as a liaison officer with the HSE in Cavan/Monaghan.

She said it was "fair procedure" for an alleged perpetrator to be made aware of an allegation of sexual abuse against them.

Such meetings would also be arranged in the context of making a child protection risk assessment.

However, Michael McDowell SC, counsel for Sgt McCabe, said no such meeting ever took place.

He also said that Sgt McCabe was not a designated liaison officer.

Under questioning, Ms Murphy confirmed no assessment of Ms D's credibility was ever made by the CSA team.

Ms Murphy said this was "because they felt that putting the young person through the finer detail of that allegation would be to the detriment of the young person".

Irish Independent

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