A GIRL who was raped by her neighbour with her mother's permission has told a court how she was too terrified to tell anyone and how she has tried to forget the horrific attacks.
The girl's victim impact statement was read out at the sentencing hearing of her mother who pleaded guilty to 12 charges, including sexual assault and neglect. The court heard how the little girl was led around in a dog lead by a neighbour before being raped.
The child was subjected to shocking sexual abuse by her mother as well as 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 the woman gave the neighbour permission to do as he wished with the girl, "for as long as he liked".
The 47-year-old woman pleaded guilty at a previous court hearing to 12 charges, including sexual assault, wilful neglect or ill treatment and using her daughter for the purpose of sexual exploitation 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, who is now aged 14, was taken into care with her siblings in 2008. She initially said her mother had been slapping her and later spoke of her mother knocking her over.
Gda Naomi Sloyan said that in statements from social workers and the victim it emerged that 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, concerned at what they called her sexualised behaviour, was unable to cope and the child was moved to another foster home where she ate eight Weetabix to satisfy her hunger.
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 two or three times a week at her original family home and began abusing her. The child's mother had been having an on-off affair with him. She also revealed that her mother had tickled her private parts.
The mother blamed her behaviour on heavy drinking at the time, but she agreed that her daughter was telling the truth.
Prosecuting counsel Caroline Biggs said the maximum sentence for the sexual exploitation of a child was life in prison.
The mother was released on continuing bail to the resumed sentence hearing in May.