Girl forced to wear dress and pose provocatively, court hears

A seven-year-old girl was forced by family friend to wear her mother’s dress and make-up and lie across a pool table in provocative poses while he took explicitly sexual photographs of her on his mobile phone, a trial has heard.

The now-15-year-old girl told the jury at Galway Circuit Criminal Court yesterday that she was in second or third class when she first met the man.

He was a friend of her mother’s and he often called to her family home and would push his thumb into her mouth at every opportunity. The first time he did this, she said, he told her to suck it, but she felt sick and bit it instead.

The now 55-year-old man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has denied 19 charges involving the sexual exploitation and sexual assault of the girl on dates between 2006 and 2009, when she was aged between seven and 10 years of age.

He also denies a separate charge of sexually assaulting the girl’s older sister, on dates between October 2006 and November 2007.

The first five charges relate to the sexual exploitation of the younger girl by coercing her into engaging in the production of child pornography on dates between October 6, 2006, and June 30, 2009.

The man also denies four further charges of the sexual exploitation of the girl by forcing her to engage in a sexual act on dates between November 26, 2007 and June 6, 2008.

He further denies 10 charges of sexually assaulting the girl on dates between November 26, 2007 and June 30, 2009.

The girl told the jury of four men and eight women that she and her family had lived in four different houses when she was a child and the man had abused her at each house.

The abuse started in the first house when he offered her €5 to sit on his lap where he held her closely against his crotch. She ran from him, but he grabbed her by the shoulder and stuck his thumb in her mouth.

He told her to suck it but she bit it and ran. “It made me gag and I bit it. He called me a bitch then and I ran from him,” the girl said.

The practice of forcing his thumb into her mouth every time he met the girl continued for the next three years after that.

The girl said the man first started to take pictures of her on his mobile phone when he was left minding her and her siblings at the second house the family had moved to after her mother and her new partner went to England for a few days to buy a car. She was eight at the time and had been told by her mother to look after her one-year-old sister.

The girl said the man would push his fingers down her throat every morning to make her vomit and then keep her at home from school. He would drive the other children to school and return home to her where the abuse would begin.

The girl said the man made her wear her mother’s favourite dress and would go into the mother’s room and get her make-up.

“He would make me do poses on the pool table and he would hurt me [sexually] if I didn’t do what I was told. He would then stand at the bottom of the pool table and I would hear the ‘click’ of the camera on his phone,” the girl said.

“I felt horrible. It was really scary. I felt terrified. It went on for at least half an hour each time.”

On one occasion, her older sister walked in on the abuse, then told her mother.

The trial continues.

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