Father being sued over alleged abuse of daughter tells court it never happened

Man tells High Court he would not ask neighbours, who included a member of the legal profession, to give evidence

The man told the High Court he  had not seen his wife, his daughter and her sister since they left the family home in 1986 for a refuge.

The man told the High Court he had not seen his wife, his daughter and her sister since they left the family home in 1986 for a refuge.

 

A father being sued for alleged sexual abuse of his daughter when she was between the ages of four and six and for facilitating neighbours to do the same has told the High Court he would not ask those neighbours to give evidence to say it never happened.

“I could not imagine the effect on people if they were dragged into court and being accused of this”, he said.

One of the people was a senior and highly respected member of the legal profession and a very good neighbour while another was a colleague of his wife, he said.

He was giving evidence on the fifth day of the civil action by his daughter, now in her 30s, who is seeking damages against him for allegedly abusing her when she was between four and six in the family home and in a number of other houses in her area.

She alleges the abuse was carried out by her father, mother, and a number of others, including neighbours. She says she was forced to watch pornographic videos and threatened and beaten by her father.

On Tuesday, the man, aged in his 60s and retired from a job in the public sector, repeatedly said what was alleged never happened and none of his daughter’s evidence was correct.

He said he had not been interviewed by gardaí in relation to allegations even though, the court heard, gardaí sent files on the allegations to the DPP in 1988 and 2011 and no prosecution directions were given on both occasions.

He also said he had not seen his wife, his daughter and her sister since they left the family home in 1986 for a refuge.

His wife has been in a psychiatric institution since 1991, the court heard.

He denied he could have contacted his daughter since then. As a result of a 1987 court order, he was not permitted to have any contact, he said.

‘Terrified’

In relation to social workers’ evidence no child could have made up the graphic detail his daughter had provided two years after leaving the family home, he said the allegations were made 27 months after they had gone into health board care and he did not know who prompted them. He believed the children thought they had been abandoned.

He believed the investigations by social workers also came after the child was interviewed by a well known psychiatrist who dealt with child sexual abuse.

Under cross-examination by John O’Donnell SC, for the daughter, he said he withdrew an appeal against a 1987 order putting the children into care because he was unable to get any doctor to give evidence against the psychiatrist who had made “a single decision” there had been abuse.

Counsel put to him evidence of two social workers, which included descriptions of men ejaculating, was something no child could have made it up. The man said “the events never ever happened”.

He denied he used to call his daughter a particular pet name when he was allegedly abusing her or used the word “fondie” when asking her for a kiss.

In saying such things in relation to the alleged abuse, she was “trying to please somebody asking what they wanted to know”, he said.

In relation to claims the abuse was watched by him and videod/photographed by others, he said they had no cameras at that time and no visitors came to their home.

When asked why not one person among those also alleged to have carried out the abuse was prepared to come along and give evidence in this case on his behalf, he replied: “These people would be absolutely terrified if that type of accusation was put to them.”

Anyone would be “absolutely horrified” if expected to come to a court in Dublin to be accused of having been “watching dirty videos or raping children”, he said.

Counsel said he was saying these were his friends who were innocent and yet he did not want them to say none of it happened just because he didn’t want to “put them through it”.

“Because I know it did not happen”, the man said.

The case continues before a jury and Mr Justice Michael McGrath.