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Family court

Care Order sought after father offered to abuse his own child over live webcam

Here are some of the reports featured in the latest Child Care Law Reporting Project which was published today.

Updated 10.39pm

THE FATHER OF a very young girl was arrested as he was about to sexually abuse her on an internet webcam.

Not knowing that he was conversing with an undercover police officer in another jurisdiction, he spoke to him in an internet chat-room, offering to abuse his own daughter over a live web-chat.

He believed the undercover police officer had the same interest in sexual activity with infants.

He told the undercover police officer that his wife was out shopping so he was free to abuse his daughter over a live stream.


The police contacted the gardaí, who arrested him and took the child into care under Section 12 of the Child Care Act.

This is just one of the reports featured in the latest report by the Child Care Law Reporting Project, which published its latest report today.

The details of his arrest were given in the course of an application in the District Court by the HSE for a Care Order for the child, who had been placed with foster carers under an Interim Care Order. The mother opposed the Care Order application.

It is understood the father left the jurisdiction following his arrest and played no part in the proceedings. The case has not yet been finalised, states the report.

During the Care Order hearing the court heard that the father had first met his wife, the child’s mother, in another jurisdiction when she was 13 or 14 years old.

They both embarked on a sexual relationship when she was just 16. He was 12 years older than her. She became pregnant and gave birth while still a teenager.

The case centered on the belief that the mother had been groomed by the father as a child and 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 during the trial said she accepted that the father was responsible for child pornography on his computer and had possibly abused their child. She said that she would take out a permanent barring order against him.

The case has been heard over 20 days, extended over several months, and 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.

He ordered a specialist assessment of the child’s disclosures before making his final ruling.

Child abuse

Other cases featured in the latest report shows Care Orders were issued for seven children who were allegedly physically and sexually abused. Their ages range from late teens with the youngest being a toddler.

Allegations were made against the father by one of his daughters, but when the children were taken into care medical evidence emerged that another child in the family had been anally raped. He alleged that a young relative had committed the offence.

Another child, the oldest, said that there had been domestic violence present in the home against the mother and some of the children. Both parents denied the allegations, however, they did accept that one child had bee abused by someone from the immediate family.

The report says that a year earlier the mother had drawn the attention of the school to the fact that this child was being bullied and sexually taunted on the halting site where they lived.

The manager of the residential centre said he has to be attended by two adults at all times.

They said:

I have managed this centre for nine and a half years and he is one of the most traumatised children I have seen.
If he does not learn to regulate his behaviour he is likely to engage in serious criminal behaviour. The extent of his problems could not be from one event, but over a period.

This child had told workers in the centre: “I know I will hurt a child.”

The social work department had been contacted, but the social worker told the court they understood the problem had reduced and there was no further intervention.

The judge ruled that the four oldest children, ranging in age from 12 to 17, should be in care until they were 18, while he granted Care Orders for a year for their three younger siblings, pending assessment of the parents. The court will review all four full Care Orders in nine months.

Highly sexualised behaviour

Another case featured in the report is in relation to an application for an Interim Care Order being adjourned in a case where a very young child displayed highly sexualised behaviour in her crèche.

The court adjourned the case pending an investigation of the behaviour and a report to the court as to the reasons for it.

No disclosures of abuse had been made by the child and the behaviour of the child was unexplainable to her relatives who were her guardians.

The child had been in the care of her grandparents since she was ten months old and was attending a crèche.

While attending crèche, workers said the child was very disruptive and sometimes aggressive.

She pointed to her private parts and used bad language referring to sexual behaviour and genitalia. The court heard that she sometimes ran to the bathroom and touched and rubbed her genitalia.

The court also heard the child demonstrated sexual behaviour and said: “Film do that.” She also put the penis of an anatomically correct doll in her mouth and invited a male crèche worker to “look at my bum-bum”.

A psychotherapist who is also a trained social worker said that the behaviour of this child was beyond what would constitute normal sexual curiosity and was also beyond her developmental stage.

She said that often when children act out in this way they are trying to communicate something they cannot put into words and that it should not be assumed, however, that there was any abuse present. “Sexualised behaviour can occur for multiple reasons,” she said.

The full report by The Child Care Law Reporting Project Volume Two for 2014 can be viewed here

First published 9.05am

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