Girl (11) denies making up allegations of abuse by creche worker

When asked how often assaults happened, child told gardaí ‘I can’t count that much’

A girl who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a childcare worker in a creche has denied making up her story in evidence to Dublin  Circuit Criminal Court. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times.

A girl who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a childcare worker in a creche has denied making up her story in evidence to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times.

 

A girl who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a childcare worker in a creche has denied making up her story.

The girl, now aged 11, was cross-examined on Tuesday in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court by counsel for the 29-year-old accused, who has pleaded not guilty to 23 counts of sexually assaulting four girls between February 2015 and December 2016. The girls were aged between five and eight at the time.

The jury was played a video of the then eight-year-old girl being interviewed by a specialist garda in January 2017, a month after the allegations came to light. She was then cross-examined via videolink and was the first complainant to give evidence in the case.

The man is charged with 10 counts of sexually assaulting the girl, who was aged between seven and eight years old at the time of the alleged offences.

In the video, the girl told a specialist garda that the man touched her “privates” at various locations in the creche including in a toilet cubicle and on a windowsill in one room.

She said the man touched her with his hand and with his phone when it was buzzing. She said he would ask her if she liked it and she would say no. She said the touching “nearly always” hurt her.

The girl said she could not remember the first time the alleged sexual assault happened, but she remembered the last time “because he could see I was getting a little bit upset about it and he thought I’d tell my mammy and daddy and he stopped it”.

She alleged the man sometimes gave her sweets before touching her, which he kept on a shelf in the afterschool room. When asked how often it happened, she replied: “I don’t know. I can’t count that much but he does it a lot of times.”

Confided

The girl said her best friend and another girl told her they were also being touched by the man. She told the garda that she confided in her best friend that the man was touching her, but never told the third girl. All three girls are complainants in the case.

Under cross-examination from Seán Guerin SC, defending, the girl said she did not tell the third girl because she thought she would “go blabbering to someone else”.

“I thought I did something wrong,” the girl said. “If I was to tell someone, they probably would have thought I was lying.”

When Mr Guerin put it to the girl that she was afraid she might get into trouble for making things up, the girl replied: “No. I wasn’t making it up.”

The girl denied making jokes about the man to her best friend, in which she and the third girl told her best friend that the man had brought them to a toilet and told them to “lick his willy”, before telling her they were only joking.

“I didn’t like it at the time so I didn’t joke about it,” the girl said. She suggested that the third girl might have made such a joke but said she had no memory of this happening.

The trial has heard the allegations first came to light when the girl told a staff member “third-hand information” about another girl saying she had “kissed (the man) on the privates and then laughed”.

The girl said she could not remember telling the staff member anything about the man.

“I definitely do not remember that,” she said.

The trial continues before Judge Elma Sheahan and a jury.