Sunday 19 January 2020

Woman admits telling social worker that her sex abuse claims were false

Sonya McLean

A WOMAN has admitted she told a social worker that allegations of sexual abuse she and her older sister had made about her mother’s boyfriend were false.

The 26-year-old woman was giving evidence in the trial of a 52-year-old man who is accused of sexually abusing his partner’s six daughters.

This complainant was the second sister to give evidence before the jury.

The trial has previously heard that the first two sisters made allegations in 2003 which they later withdrew. The allegations were made again in 2005 when a third sister claimed she had been abused by the man.

The older sister had earlier told Mary Rose Gearty SC, prosecuting, that the abuse started when she was eight or nine, and continued until she was about 15 or 16.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 62 counts of sexual assault.

The second sister agreed with Giollaiosa O Lideadha SC, defending, that she attended a meeting with a social worker, her older sister (the first complainant), and her mother in April 2003.

She agreed that a report from that meeting outlined that the then 16 and 18-year-old girls said that an earlier statement they had made to gardai outlining the allegations had been withdrawn or was about to be withdrawn.

The complainant accepted that they said this to the social worker and that they also told the woman that the reason they made the allegations was because they were just trying to get the accused “into trouble”.

Mr O Lideadha put it to the woman that the report stated that when they were asked why they wanted to get the man into trouble the older sister recounted a row they had with their mother and the accused the night they went to the gardai to report the abuse.

The complainant accepted that the social worker told them that because there were younger sisters in the house they would be treating the allegations very seriously and would have to talk to the accused.

She further accepted that their mother was then asked to leave the meeting and the social worker again asked the girls were the allegations true and the teenagers insisted they were not.

The complainant agreed that the social worker assured them that if they made genuine allegations of abuse they would be dealt with “with the utmost seriousness”.

The report stated that the girls again said that the allegations were false, that they did not wish to pursue them and the teenagers agreed to inform the gardai about this.

The social worker’s report also outlined that the girls’ mother was concerned about her daughters taking ecstasy tablets and hash.

The complainant replied that she did take hash at the time but denied that she took ecstasy. She said she could not remember her mother ever being concerned about her taking drugs.

She agreed that there had been fights at home at the time between herself, her sister, her mother and the accused but denied that she had hit the accused during those rows, though he had hit them.

Mr O Lideadha suggested to the woman that she had physical fights with her mother at the time and the accused had to intervene.

The woman refused to accept this and a further suggestion that she had physical fights with her sisters, “no more than pushing, normal fights between sisters”.

The woman insisted that the allegations of sexual abuse she had made before the jury were true.

She refused to accept a suggestion that the allegations could not be true because if they were she would not have let her younger sisters remain in the family home with an abuser.

“If these allegations were true, there is no way you would call off an enquiry and let the accused go back into the family home,” counsel suggested.

Mr O Lideadha further suggested to the woman that a report stated that, at the time of the third sister making allegations of sexual abuse in 2005, their mother believed that this girl was making false allegations because she was under the influence of the older sister, the first complainant.

The trial continues in front of Judge Desmond Hogan and a jury of six men and five women after one juror was excused.

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