Mum let neighbour rape daughter (5) 'for as long as he liked', court hears
A little girl was led around in a dog lead by a neighbour before being raped, a court has heard.
The child was subjected to shocking sexual abuse by her mother as well as by the neighbour from the age of five, Roscommon Circuit Criminal Court was told. Her father is to stand trial later this year on charges of sexually assaulting his daughter.
The neighbour was given an eight-year sentence last year after pleading guilty to raping the child. That sentence is currently under appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
At the sentencing hearing of the mother yesterday, Judge Tony Hunt was told that the woman gave the neighbour permission to do as he wished with her daughter and "for as long as he liked".
The 47-year-old woman had pleaded guilty at a previous court hearing to a total 12 charges, including sexual assault, wilful neglect or ill-treatment, as well as using her daughter for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
All of the charges took place between 2004 and 2008 in the west of Ireland. Reporting restrictions prevent the identification of the victim.
The offences came to light after the girl was taken into care with her siblings in 2008. She initially said that her mother had been slapping her.
Garda Naomi Sloyan said that in statements from social workers and the victim, it emerged that the mother had also taught her daughter to masturbate when she was five, while the child often went without food and was unable to use utensils or brush her hair when taken into care aged nine.
Her first foster family became concerned at what they called her sexualised behaviour.
The foster family was unable to cope and the child was moved to another foster home.
Here, she struggled to eat and did not know what it was to feel full. She spoke of several evenings when there was no food in her original family home. In her foster home she ate eight Weetabix to satisfy her hunger, but was unable to clean herself.
The child was later found to have bruises and was discovered to be biting herself.
The male neighbour used to babysit the girl and her siblings twice or three times a week at her original family home and began abusing her.
The girl later revealed that the neighbour had told her mother about what he was doing to her and the mother said that it was fine by her – he could do it as long as he liked.
The child made it clear that when the neighbour was in the act of abuse, her mother was in the home.
The woman had been having an on-off affair with her neighbour. She also revealed that her mother had tickled her in her private parts.
The child was asked why she was in foster care and replied: ". . . because Mammy and Daddy are sick. They don't know how to look after us properly".
The mother blamed her behaviour on the fact that she was drinking heavily at the time – cider, vodka and Coke.
But she agreed that her daughter was telling the truth.
In a letter to her therapist while in care, the child asked for help and said that her mother told her to "tell lies all the time."
In her victim impact statement read to the court by Detective Garda Mary Tarpey, the girl, who is now 14, said she had never felt protected and was very sad.
She had found the change of homes upsetting.
"I try not to think of the crime. I thought it was everyday life and I was too afraid to tell anyone," she said.
The court was told by prosecuting counsel Caroline Biggs that the maximum sentence for the sexual exploitation of a child was life imprisonment, while the maximum tariff for sexual assault was 14 years.
The mother was released on continuing bail to the resumed sentence hearing in May.