Tusla the Child and Family Agency has secured High Court orders allowing it to place a teenager girl who is being pimped to men by her girlfriend for money and drugs at a secure facility for troubled teens.
The agency sought the orders over concerns for the 15-year-old girl’s life and welfare following several incidents in recent weeks.
The concerns include that the girl, who has a history of absconding for days and is deemed extremely vulnerable, has been sexually assaulted and abused on many occasions.
She was pimped out to several men by her older girlfriend for “€20 and drugs” including crack cocaine and heroin, Tusla claim.
The girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has been taking illegal drugs and alcohol before being pimped out to the men.
One of several men that had unprotected sex with the teenager is an Irish-based Eastern European male prostitute who is HIV positive.
While the girl has not developed the condition, she has not been taking medication prescribed to her aimed at preventing her from getting HIV.
There is also a risk the girl may become pregnant, as the only contraceptive she is known to have used on occasions is the morning after pill.
The girl, who was in several placements had most recently been staying with her father, who the court heard has been trying to help her.
In order to prevent her from absconding, her father had removed handles from doors and latches from windows so she could not get out.
At the High Court on Thursday, Mr Justice Alexander Owens granted Tusla various interim orders, including allowing it to detain the teen at its facility for troubled teens in Ballydowd in Dublin.
Tusla says the girl will be kept safe at the facility, where she will be able to access the supports and healthcare she requires.
The order was granted on an ex-parte basis, and was sought after a place Tusla had available for minors in its special care units became available.
The judge also appointed a qualified social worker to act as the girl’s independent guardian ad litem.
Seeking the orders, barrister David Leahy for Tusla said in his eight years making applications to have young persons placed in secure care this case was the most “stark”.
There were serious concerns for the girl’s physical health and mental well being, and her family had indicated their general support that the girl get the help she requires.
The girl is in a relationship with an older girl, counsel said, but the reality was this person “acted more as the teen’s pimp”.
One of the men believed to have sexually assaulted her is her girlfriend’s brother, the court heard.
Child pornography inquiry
The teen had been found at various locations after she absconded from where she was supposed to be staying, including apartments with men believed to be using her for sex.
Counsel said that on one of the occasions the teen absconded, her family learned on social media that she was to meet a man at a public house. Her family intercepted her at the pub in an attempt to ensure she did not come to harm.
Counsel said gardaí are investigating certain matters, including the girl’s claims about being sexually abused.
There is also an investigation into the possibility that she may have participated in the making of child pornography.
The girl is now in a situation where her life is at risk, counsel said.
There were also concerns that the girl might be suicidal, and that she had been involved in “a suicide pact”.
Counsel said that the reports are that the girl was quite bright, but had not been in school for some time.
The staff at the school the girl had attended had expressed their concerns for the teenager, who claimed to have been bullied there.
She had been put in various placements, but these had not worked out.
In addition, she had not engaged with various services or attended at appointments made for her with healthcare professionals.
The matter will return before the court next week.