Girl admits sex offences never happened

DPP withdraws sexual exploitation charges against teacher as complainant admits allegations false

The trial of a teacher charged with the sexual exploitation of a pupil over an eight-month period came to an abrupt end yesterday when the complainant admitted that it had never happened.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had denied eight charges of using a child for sexual exploitation, by inviting, inducing or coercing the child to engage in sexual, indecent or obscene acts, contrary to Section 3(2) of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998, on dates between December, 2011, and July, 2012.

The alleged offences came to light when the girl went to her school principal, accompanied by her parents on June 27, 2012 and made a complaint about the teacher.

The girl, who is now aged 20, told a jury of six men and six women at Galway Circuit Criminal Court when the trial began on Wednesday that the man had taught her for the three-year junior cycle at a Co Galway school and when she was in third year, then aged 15, he asked to friend her on Facebook.

She agreed and after that she gave him her phone number. The young woman sobbed as she told the trial the man regularly texted her and he would pick her up at weekends in his car. She said he would give her bottles of Buckfast, cigarettes, and phone credit.

She claimed he brought her to isolated locations where he would perform a sexual act on himself or get her to do it for him.

Under cross-examination by Garnet Orange, SC, defending, the witness admitted she was drinking heavily and her parents were having difficulties controlling her when she was 15.

Mr Orange said the witness had asked his client to send her a friend request on Facebook and he foolishly did that.

He told you he needed help and you later described him to gardaí as a shy and nervous man and a bit ‘innocent’ and he befriended you,” Mr Orange put to the witness.

During further cross-examination the witness said she could not remember exact dates or the frequency of the alleged incidents in the man’s car because she was drunk at the time.

Mr Orange put it to her that she was blackmailing his client. He said his client and the girl had started kissing once but it had been a very brief incident.

The girl claimed she would go on some occasions with the accused in his car “as part of the transaction” and perform a sexual act on him.

“You were blackmailing him but the only thing that happened between you was that one kiss.”

Mr Orange said to the witness that his client did accept he had behaved “extremely badly” and he should never have engaged in such contact with a pupil.

“But he saw you as a shoulder to cry on, not withstanding the age difference. He took you to be a friend and he never asked you to perform sexual acts,” Mr Orange said. “I’m accepting it never happened,” the witness replied to the surprise of everyone present.

Judge Rory McCabe sent the jury home for the night and yesterday morning, Shane Costelloe SC, prosecuting, said — in the absence of the jury — that the DPP was withdrawing all eight charges against the accused and wished to enter a nolle prosequi in the matter


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