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Dublin: 3°C Thursday 26 November 2020
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Father offered to abuse his own daughter on webcam

The child’s mother stayed in contact with the man.

Image: Shutterstock/Piotr Adamowicz

THE DISTRICT COURT in a rural town has made a care order until the age of 18 for a young girl whose father was about to sexually abuse her on a webcam.

The father had been in contact through an internet chat room with a person whom he believed shared his interest in sexual activity with infants, but the person he was conversing with was an undercover police officer in another jurisdiction.

When he told the undercover police officer that his wife was out shopping and that he would abuse his daughter live on webcam the police contacted the Garda Siochana, who arrested him and took the child into care. The child was placed with foster carers under an interim care order, which was opposed by her mother. The father left the country following his arrest and played no part in the proceedings.

The District Court judge, in his reserved written judgment, said the court was satisfied that the child’s mother continued to have contact with her husband, the child’s father, despite her denials when she was giving evidence.

During the hearing, the court heard that the father had first met the child’s mother in the other jurisdiction when she was 13 or 14 years old and he was 26. He had run a business that brought him into contact with young people. The two had then embarked on a sexual relationship when she was 16. She became pregnant when she was 17 and gave birth to the child when she was 18.

The Child and Family Agency testified that they believed the mother had been groomed by the father as a child, was under his influence and therefore could not guarantee the child’s safety if she was returned to her.

There were also allegations that the child had already been abused by the father, and that the mother was aware of this and may have participated in the abuse. This was strongly denied by the mother, who said during the trial she accepted that the father was responsible for child pornography on his computer and had possibly abused their child.

It was suggested by a social worker that the mother was reminding the child of the abuse while visiting her.

Verdict

The judge described it as “a very complex case involving serious matters including allegations of the most serious nature. Some of the evidence heard was most disturbing and upsetting,” he said.

When the judge delivered the lengthy written judgement, he said he was not satisfied to the level of proof necessary that the child had been abused or that the mother was aware of such abuse, if it existed.

However, he was satisfied that the child’s welfare was likely to be avoidably impaired in the future, and that the mother would not be a protective factor as she continued to have contact with the father. He granted a full care order till 18 on this ground.

CCLRP

The case forms part of 30 new cases of child care breaches published today by the Child Care Law Reporting Project (CCLRP).

The project has today published 30 new case reports in the first volume of its 2015 reports on child care proceedings. The reports range from criminal cases to naturalisation cases.

Read: Child found in car with cut on his throat as parents smoked heroin

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