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Eleven plead not guilty to alleged sexual abuse, exploitation and neglect of four children

One of the men is also charged with inappropriately administering medication to one of the alleged victims.

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SIX WOMEN AND five men have pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of sexually abusing, exploiting and neglecting four children in Co Limerick.

One of the men is also charged with inappropriately administering medication to one of the alleged victims.

The 11 defendants appeared before the Central Criminal Court today where they each pleaded not guilty to a total of 36 charges on the indictment. There are close to 300 charges in total.

The defendants range in age from 26 to 77 and live at various addresses in Munster. They cannot be named to protect the identity of the children involved in the case. They are all on bail.

The charges include rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation and child cruelty and neglect under Section 246 of the Children Act 2001. A number of the defendants also pleaded not guilty to failing to alert gardaí to various alleged crimes against the children.

The alleged victims are all juveniles – two boys and two girls – and the offences allegedly occurred at a number of locations in the Limerick region on dates between June 2014 and August 2017.

A provisional trial date has been set down for early next year in Dublin. However, the court heard that lawyers for almost all of the accused persons wish to have separate trials.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott set the matter down for hearing on November 16.

A 55-year-old man pleaded not guilty to five charges. These included raping a girl and inappropriately medicating her.

He also pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a boy, neglecting or ill-treating the same boy and sexually exploiting this boy by inducing him to engage in a sexual act with another boy.

A 33-year-old woman pleaded not guilty to five charges. She denied sexually assaulting two girls. She also pleaded not guilty to allowing another female defendant to sexually assault one of those girls.

She further pleaded not guilty to sexually exploiting one boy and neglecting or ill-treating him.

A 48-year-old man pleaded not  guilty to four charges. He denied raping one girl and sexually assaulting the other girl. He pleaded not  guilty to two counts of sexually assaulting both boys.

A 34-year-old woman pleaded not guilty to four charges. She denied three counts of sexually assaulting two boys and one girl. She also pleaded not guilty to a charge of failing to tell gardaí that the 55-year-old man had inappropriately medicated one of the children.

A 26-year-old man – the youngest of the defendants – also pleaded not guilty to four charges. He pleaded not guilty to raping one of the girls and two counts of sexually assaulting another girl and a boy.

He further denied sexually exploiting the other boy on a football pitch by inducing him to engage in a sexual act.

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A 31-year-old woman pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexually assaulting the two girls. She further denied sexually exploiting one of the boys by inducing him to engage in a sexual act with one of the girls.

A 35-year-old woman pleaded not  guilty to sexually assaulting one girl. She also denied one count of failing to tell gardaí that one of the men was sexually exploiting one of the boys and failing to tell gardaí that the 55-year-old man was inappropriately medicating two of the children.

A 77-year-old man denied three charges. He pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting two girls. He also pleaded not guilty to one count of failing to tell gardaí that two of his co-accused had ill-treated or neglected children in their care.

A 56-year-old woman pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexually assaulting two girls.

A 36-year-old woman pleaded not guilty to two counts. She denied sexually exploiting one of the boys and failing to tell gardaí that two of her co-accused had ill-treated or neglected children in their care.

Finally, a 31-year-old man pleaded not guilty to one count of sexually assaulting one of the girls.

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Isabel Hayes

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