Woman jailed for 16 months for sexual exploitation of daughter (4)
A WOMAN has been jailed for 16 months for the sexual exploitation of her four-year-old daughter which involved filming the child with a semi-naked man.
The offence came to light when a member of the public found a crushed mobile phone on the road and checked the contents of the phone’s memory card using a second phone.
The video found on the memory card showed the child’s father lying on a bed naked from the waist down and the child’s face coming close to the man’s groin area.
The woman can be heard laughing and telling the child to “smile for the camera” on the mobile phone footage.
The 28-year-old woman, who cannot be named to protect the child’s identity, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexually assaulting and sexually exploiting the female child on March 12th, 2010, in Dublin.
Judge Martin Nolan described the woman’s actions as “squalid” and reprehensible and said she had failed elementally in her duty as a mother to protect her child.
He imposed sentences of three years on both counts but suspended all but 16 months of the prison term, after accepting that the woman was genuinely sorry for the offences.
During the sentencing hearing the video footage was viewed only by Judge Nolan. The sound of two adults and a child laughing could be heard in court.
Det Garda Brian Jennings told Giollaiosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending, that when gardaí showed the video footage to the woman, she said she was sickened by it and she began visibly gagging.
Mr Ó Lideadha said his client had a serious drink problem and was drunk on the night the video was made.
There was a complicated and very unsavoury psychological factor involved in his client’s relationship with her ex-partner, the man in the video. This was related to her trying to maintain a relationship with him.
He said his client was emotionally unstable with a limited cognitive ability. She had to get over her disgust at what happened before she was able to accept fully her own role, which she now did.
A report handed into the court said she was at a low risk of committing future sexual offences and that she should continue with therapy.
Mr Ó Lideadha said she had not drunk alcohol since February 2011 and has completed a 12-step alcoholic recovery programme.
Judge Nolan noted the woman had problems and was not “the brightest person” but he said she probably did know that what she did was reprehensible.
He said she was drunk when the offence was committed and he believed she was genuinely sorry. Judge Nolan noted that she had lost custody of her daughter but lately had supervised visitation rights.
Mother’s role ‘too long ignored’
ACCORDING TO the Children at Risk in Ireland Foundation, “research shows that 7 per cent of all sexual abuse against children is carried out by females and each abuse that is recorded further traps a child in a virtual world where their abuse can be replayed over and over across the globe”.
Speaking after yesterday’s case, national clinical director Dr Niall Muldoon said: “The fact that a mother can be involved in the sexual abuse of a child has been ignored for too long and this case also highlights the added damage that the recording of an abusive event can have on a child.”
The foundation says the family home has always been the place of greatest danger; there are now the added risks posed by the increasing sexualisation of society, the fragmentation of families and the arrival of new media greatly adding to the risks to vulnerable children. The majority of the foundation’s clients have experienced intrafamilial abuse.
The home environment is still the most likely location of abuse, it adds, and insufficient attention has been given to this reality to date.