The Central Criminal Court heard how a five-year-old girl and her three-and-a-half-year-old brother were raped and abused by her mother and partner.
At today’s sentencing hearing, the court also heard the little girl was tied to a chair as her mother and boyfriend went to the pub.
The boy later told his adoptive parents that they had saved his life.
The 52-year-old man was convicted after a court hearing on six counts, including rape and oral rape of the girl and two counts involving rape and oral rape of her three-year-old brother.
He was also convicted of falsely detaining the girl.
The children’s 40-year-old mother was convicted of four counts of sexual assault and sexual exploitation of her daughter and four counts of oral rape in a joint venture with her partner.
She was also convicted of wrongful imprisonment and endangerment by neglect of her daughter and endangerment by neglect of her son.
Both had denied the charges but were convicted by a jury after a six-week trial.
Prosecutor Anne Rowland told the court the two defendants met at a bus stop in 2011, when the woman had four children and her relationship was falling apart.
In October 2013, she ended up in a women’s shelter, telling social workers that she was unable to care for her two youngest children and beat them for no reason.
She placed them in voluntary custody and during this time her daughter disclosed sexual abuse.
It was determined that the girl at the time had limited developmental and language impairments, and although she was six years old, she behaved like a three or four year old.
In interviews with the Gardaí specialist, the girl said she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend and sexually abused by her mother.
She shared how her mother asked her to engage in sexual activity with her and her partner. When she was asked how often this activity occurs, she replied “all the time”, reports RTE.
She also recounted how she was raped by the man at her friend’s house and described her rape as making her cry.
She also said she was tied to a chair as the couple went to the pub. When asked later about how she was tied up, she said she was glued to the chair.
The girl’s younger brother was admitted to the same nursing home and also reported the abuse.
After her children were taken care of, she was transferred from the women’s shelter and relocated, but the man later returned to live with her and they had more children.
All of the woman’s children are now in custody, the court said.
Upon arrest, the girl’s mother denied the crimes and claimed that her daughter fabricated the abuse because she was being cared for.
She also blamed the children’s natural father, saying that she once told Gardaí and took her daughter to the doctor worried about her.
However, the court was told there was no record of a Garda report and the GP said no such issues had been brought to her attention, reports RTE.
The woman’s co-defendant also denied all allegations during talks with Gardaí and maintained her innocence of her.
The children’s testimony came through taped interviews with Gardaí, but the trial did not take place for another eight years.
In a court report, the girl’s adoptive mother recounted how she was placed with them after two previous placements proved difficult.
“I can only imagine how traumatic it must have been… we knew we had to give her as much love and care and attention…she needed stability and a routine,” she said, reports RTE.
She gravitated towards men, “everyone from the postman to strangers” and had to be warned about strangers repeatedly. At a birthday party she repeatedly asked “where is the man?”, reports RTE.
The adoptive mother said the girl had no idea of the weather and she could be found playing in her room in the middle of the night.
For two years she had to be put to sleep by her foster mother, who sang and patted her back.
When she was first fostered, she had difficulty controlling her bladder and bowels and often soiled herself.
Her adoptive mother said within two weeks the girl gave “the most horrific and unimaginable account” of what happened to her and she said she never wanted to go back, reports RTE.
At this point, both children still had access to their mother and partner and when asked if they wanted to continue doing so, they said no.
One teacher observed that the boy’s behavior changed completely when he was told that he no longer needed to see his mother and her partner, and it was as if a burden had been lifted from him.
The girl has since moved to another foster home and her current foster mother said that when she first arrived she appeared to be much younger than she was.
Certain things can trigger her emotions about her and she has told her adoptive mother that she gets flashbacks of what happened to her.
Her adoptive mother added that “will always struggle but is looking forward to the future and we will care for her until she is strong enough to live independently”, reports RTE.
The 52-year-old man’s defense attorney, Michael Lynn, said his client comes from a large family and had a very difficult upbringing with physical and emotional abuse.
He got married quite young and that marriage ended but he was back in a relationship with his ex wife who was supportive and had been throughout the process.
Defense attorney Dominic McGinn told the court the children’s mother had a difficult upbringing and suffers from mild to moderate intellectual disability.
Judge David Keane said there was a lot to consider in the case and adjourned the verdict to March 13.
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