Defendant: Assault claims part of custody battle

A stepdad accused of sexual assault said his ex-partner and others in her family had put his stepdaughter up to making the allegations in order to help her mother in a custody battle over other children.

A jury deliberated for over an hour yesterday and were then sent home Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin who told them to return to Cork Circuit Criminal Court today to resume their deliberations.

The judge directed them to find the accused not guilty by his direction on one charge of sexual assault and to consider the remaining 14 counts.

The accused told investigating gardaí: “I never interfered with her in any sexual way.... With the help of God it will be sorted out. It is a big worry.”

The court heard that the accused claimed what was behind the complaint was the complainant’s mother, aunt, and grandmother puting her up to making the claims because they were afraid he would get custody of the boys in the family.

He told gardaí he had made a complaint to social workers about his ex-partner drinking heavily while having the children in her care. His view was that because he made this complaint his ex-partner was getting back at him by getting the teenager to claim she had been sexually assaulted between the age of 8 and 11, and once when 14.

Gardaí asked him “are you sexually attracted to girls and kids?” He replied: “No, Her friends have been in the house lots of times. I was involved in the youthclub and there was no trouble with me.”

The complainant, who is now 18, said he started sexually assaulting her from the age of eight.

She also alleged that when she was 14, tried to put his hand down her underwear after picking her up from a disco.

Ciarán O’Loughlin, for the defendant, suggested that from the age of eight when the complainant realised the accused was not her natural father she began to dislike him to the point of hating him. She agreed yesterday that this was so.


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