A Meath mother destroyed evidence after her daughter told her she had been raped by the woman's fiancé, a court has heard.
The 39-year-old man began sexually abusing three of the woman's daughters shortly after moving into the family home.
The Central Criminal Court heard that in the case of one of the victims, the abuse progressed from molestation to an incident of rape where he attacked the 15-year-old as she lay sick in bed.
The next day the girl told her mother what had happened.
The accused was confronted and his father told him they needed to make a report to gardaí.
The accused and his partner left the house to go to the garda station. The woman told the trial that outside the station the man falsely told her it was her daughter who had touched him first and she decided not to tell gardaí.
When she returned home she washed the bedclothes and the clothes from the scene of the rape.
The next day she brought her daughter to the GP to get the morning after pill. She claimed to the GP that the girl had had consensual sex with a 17-year-old boy.
Gardaí eventually became involved when the girls' school became concerned and notified the HSE. The children were taken into care and the accused moved out of the family home.
The girls returned to their mother's house after a few weeks, but one of them moved out again when she learned the mother was still in contact with the accused.
She was afraid her mother would allow the man to move back into the house.
The mother supported the accused throughout the trial and claimed she was being intimidated by her daughters.
She told the he judge that she felt “under duress” and very uncomfortable giving evidence as she was being “intimidated and harassed” by her daughters on a daily basis.
“The hostility coming from my daughters to me, it's a very distressing situation,” she said. “I fear for my life.”
The accused was convicted last month of one count of rape and 12 counts of sexual assault of the three girls in their Meath home in 2009 and 2010 when they were in their early to mid teens.
He does not accept the verdict of the jury.
Pauline Walley SC, prosecuting, told Mr Justice Paul Coffey that when the accused moved into the family home he would buy the girls presents which they considered a form of “bribery”.
The abuse started a short time later with the accused rubbing acne cream on the girls.
He would then started to molest them.
During one instance one of the girls threatened to tell her mother. The accused told her he would take a knife to her throat if she did.
In their victim impact reports, the victims said the accused had destroyed their family and left them with severe consequences including depression, addiction and anxiety.
One victim said that every time she tried to sleep she saw the accused about to abuse her.
She said her mother was supposed to protect them but instead she tried to get her to drop the charges on behalf of the accused.
Another victim said she had to leave the family home for a second time because she was scared her mother would allow the rapist to return. She has not spoken with her mother in years.
The third victim said she has tried to take her own life on several occasions since the abuse as well as engaging in self-harm.
Brendan Grehan SC, defending, said he had no instructions to make a plea of mitigation. He said the accused has no previous convictions and was in employment at the time.
Mr Justice Paul Coffey remanded the accused in custody for sentencing next Monday.