Woman realised she was abuser while on child safety course

Accused given 18 month suspended sentence for incidents which court heard changed victim

A woman only realised she had sexually abused a girl after undertaking a child protection course, Letterkenny Circuit Court has heard.

A woman only realised she had sexually abused a girl after undertaking a child protection course, Letterkenny Circuit Court has heard.

 

A woman only realised she had sexually abused a girl after undertaking a child protection course, Letterkenny Circuit Court has heard.

The woman on Thursday faced two charges of sexual abuse against the girl, dating back to the the mid 2000s, which occurred while the child was aged 10 or 11 and briefly in her care.

In one incident the woman, who cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity, had watched television with the girl and then kissed the child and rubbed her breast. The girl told her mother what happened but when asked about the matter the accused said they were only playing.

In the second incident, the girl’s father had to leave his daughter with the woman as his wife had been in a car crash. This time the child was told to take a bath and the woman rubbed the girl’s vaginal area with a flannel for five minutes.

The woman told the court she only appreciated the seriousness of the incidents when she did a child protection course. She then disclosed the abuse and support services and gardaí became involved.

A victim impact statement stated the victim had changed as a result of the abuse. She stays at home a lot, gets upset easily, is unable to develop relationships with boys and recalls the abuse when in the bath or shower.

The court heard the accused suffered prolonged sexual abuse and became pregnant at the age of 12 before miscarrying. She was abused sexually, emotionally and physically by siblings, her mother’s partners and people who visited her house, the court heard.

A doctor who treated the accused said she had suffered “the most grave and prolonged case of sexual abuse that I have come across.”

Judge John Aylmer said the offences were at the mid-range of seriousness but the lower end of the range.

He did not want to overlook the impact on the victim so imposed an 18 month suspended sentence in light of mitigating factors including a guilty plea which saved victim from cross examination.

He ordered that the woman have no unsupervised contact with persons aged under 18 or any vulnerable adult. She must enter a treatment programme for sexual offenders and remain on the sex offenders register for five years.