A child who was allegedly raped by his father and forced to have sex with his mother showed disturbing behaviour in school such as biting and spitting, a trial has heard.
The 12-year-old boy has now concluded his evidence at the Central Criminal Court after spending nearly two weeks testifying via video-link about various abuses he allegedly suffered in the family home in Waterford, including being raped with a hot poker and having a gun held to his head.
His parents face a total of 82 charges of abuse between 2007 and 2011 in Waterford.
The father and mother have pleaded not guilty to 16 counts each of sexual exploitation and one charge each of child cruelty. The mother has also denied 16 counts of sexual assault, while the father denies 16 counts of anal rape and 16 counts of sexual assault with a poker.
Yesterday, during re-examination by the prosecution, the boy said he still liked his father despite everything.
“What I’m trying to say is even if he did these things I still like him in a way,” he told Pauline Walley, prosecuting. “Even if he did this, he is still my dad.”
He agreed there were “happy times” including holidays and day trips. He said he felt happy on these occasions, “like [the abuse] didn’t really happen, but it was still all there”.
The jury also heard from the boy’s teacher, who reported her concerns to social workers in 2011, which led to him being taken into care where he has remained since.
The teacher said she knew the child “extremely well” as he received special attention due to his behavioural issues which included attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The boy would bite and spit and found it very difficult to make friends or play with other children at first. His teacher said he also showed inappropriate physical behaviour such as rubbing other boy’s arms or asking for hugs from teachers. He would also “talk about death in ways that weren’t appropriate”.
The teacher agreed with Colman Cody, defending the boy’s father, that both parents regularly attended welfare meetings concerning the child. She denied there were any issues in school with him stealing or lying.
She said that in April 2011, the child arrived in school very upset. He told her his father had been slapping and shouting at him all weekend and he could not take it any more.
She said he was “inconsolable” and that he “sobbed and sobbed; almost heartbroken sobbing”.
The teacher said she had seen him cry before out of frustration or because he hurt himself, “but this was different”.
She told the principal and a decision was made to inform his social worker. The boy was taken away that afternoon and went to live with a foster family.
The trial continues before Mr Justice Robert Eagar and a jury.
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