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Alleged sexual assault victim told mother she didn't want to go to crèche, court hears

A man is charged with 23 counts of assaulting four girls in the crèche.

Image: PA

THE MOTHER OF one of four girls allegedly sexually assaulted by a childcare worker said her daughter repeatedly told her she didn’t want to go to crèche, his trial has heard.

The woman said her child “visibly was really uncomfortable going into crèche” before allegations the man had been sexually assaulting her emerged in December 2016.

The mother of the first complainant was giving evidence in the trial of the 29-year-old man, who is charged with 23 counts of assaulting four girls in the crèche on dates between February 2015 and December 2016, when they were aged between five and eight years old. He denies the charges.

No parties in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial can be named to protect the identity of the complainants.

The woman told Orla Crowe SC, prosecuting, that about three months prior to the allegations being made, her daughter told her she didn’t want to go to crèche.

“She visibly did not want to go in and she said on numerous occasions that she didn’t want to go,” the mother said. The mother said she asked her daughter why, but she wouldn’t say.

The woman also told the court that in the six months prior to the allegations coming to light, the man’s behaviour around her changed.

“He didn’t make eye contact with me,” she said. “He was different and I visibly noticed that.”

The mother said she hadn’t discussed sex with her daughter but that her daughter started talking more about her “privates”.

“She generally was talking more about her privates,” the mother said. “She said to me one day she was very sore. She would talk about being sore and I just didn’t make the connection.”

The court has heard the girl first made the allegation to her father in November 2016. The mother learned about the allegations when the crèche contacted them on 12 December 2016.

The woman said when she asked the girl what happened, it took the child a while to tell her before she said the man had touched her privates. She was “very clear” the mother said. She said the girl was “very upset” and “extremely defensive” and was curled up like a ball on the sofa.

“I could tell she didn’t want to talk about it at that point in time,” the mother said.

Sean Guerin SC, defending, put it to the woman that the reason the girl was defensive was “because she wasn’t telling the truth”.

“I totally disagree,” the woman replied. “I’m a mother. I know my child. My child was defensive because she was uncomfortable and didn’t quite understand what was happening as an eight-year-old child.” 

The woman agreed with Mr Guerin that she was upset that her husband hadn’t told her about the allegations.

“There was anger and upset because my husband didn’t tell me for a couple of weeks and my role as a mother is to protect my daughter and that’s very important to me,” she said. “I was really upset with him at the time.”

Mr Guerin put it to the woman that in her statement to gardaí, she only told them about one time her daughter said she didn’t want to go to crèche. The woman said she was recalling an example of one time.

“At the time, there was more than one occasion of her visibly not wanting to go to crèche,” she said.

The court heard the woman did not tell gardaí about her daughter saying her privates were sore in any of the three statements she made. Mr Guerin put it to the woman that it was “inconceivable” she would not have mentioned this to the gardaí.

The mother said she was “shocked” by the allegations and that her daughter could have mentioned the soreness 18 months or two years prior to December 2016. “It was only afterwards I started to pull the jigsaw together,” she said.

Mr Guerin put it to the woman that she was giving evidence of matters that happened a long time ago to add corroboration to the allegations of sexual assault. She denied this.

In relation to the man’s behaviour towards her, he suggested she was perhaps subconsciously making things up.

“What you have done, probably because of your sense of upset at having these matters kept from you by your husband, you have been trying – probably subconsciously – to compensate for that by making up matters that would support allegations of abuse,” Mr Guerin said.

“I’m not compensating for anything,” the woman replied.

The trial continues before Judge Elma Sheahan and a jury of seven men and five women.

About the author:

Isabel Hayes

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