Tuesday 20 February 2018

Man accused of sexually assaulting girl (10) at sister's First Communion party

Man accused of threatening to kill children at Irish primary school, court hears
Man accused of threatening to kill children at Irish primary school, court hears

Greg Harkin

A FAMILY friend sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl twice at a First Communion party for her sister, a jury has been told.

The alleged victim, now 15, followed the trial yesterday via video-link from a separate room at Letterkenny Circuit Court.

The 37-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault at the girl’s home in Co Donegal on April 24, 2010.

He cannot be named to protect the identity of his alleged victim.

Outlining the case to a jury of six men and six women, Patricia McLaughlin, prosecuting, said the defendant had gone to the house party after the alleged victim’s sister, then aged eight, had made her First Communion earlier that day.

Some of the adults were drinking wine and a number of children at the party were playing games.

She said the defendant had sat on a sofa in a living room beside the alleged victim whilst the other children were distracted by the other activities and he had proceeded to sexually assault her.

Later the same day the girl had been upstairs in her mother’s bedroom when the defendant had sexually assaulted her again as she read a First Communion book.

Later that night the girl told her younger sister what happened and she had told their mother.

The jury was shown an hour-long video interview conducted by a social worker in which the girl, dressed in her primary school uniform, recalled the incidents.

The alleged victim followed the court proceedings via video link from another room in the court house.

She described going to the Mass earlier that day before going to buy her sister a First Communion card.

In the living room of her home later, she said in the video interview, the family friend came into the living room and sat on the arm of a sofa beside her.

Her sister was playing with her friends who were putting make-up on her.

She told the social worker that her alleged attacker put his hand on her leg before touching her.

Asked where she had been touched, the girl replied: “On my private parts.”

The alleged victim said she ran out of the living room and went upstairs to hide. She said she had hidden under the bed in her mother’s bedroom for a while before deciding to come out.

She had watched ‘Hannah Montana’ on TV for a while before reading a First Communion journal as she sat on her mum’s bed.

The family friend came into the room, she alleged, and said to her: “I’ve been looking for you.”

She said he took the First Communion book out of he hand, placed it on the bed and he sexually assaulted her again.

The man, a family friend since before she was born, had then laid down on the bed and gone to sleep.

The girl said the sister who had made her First Communion that day had noticed she was upset and had asked her what was wrong.

“I told her why. I told her what he did to me,” said the alleged victim.

Her sister had then told her mother what had happened she said.

The trial continues today at Letterkenny Circuit Court.

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