A Limerick mother has been cleared of putting her daughter at serious risk of sexual assault, in one of the first cases of its kind under 2006 legislation.
A jury returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty at Limerick Circuit Court yesterday after deliberating for six hours over two days.
The woman’s partner was found guilty of three counts of sexually assaulting the girl. He had pleaded not guilty to 20 counts of sexually assaulting his partner’s daughter at their home in Limerick City on dates from May 2008 to December 2009
The offences alleged by the State began around the time of the girl’s 14th birthday.
The girl’s mother denied a charge of endangering her daughter by intentionally or recklessly placing her in a situation where there was a substantial risk of her becoming a victim of sexual abuse.
The girl, now aged 19, told the court that on two occasions, the accused man put his hands down the side of her pants and ripped her underwear from her.
She claimed her mother was sitting on another chair in the same room on both occasions.
The girl told how the accused man would put his arm around his partner and her mother and call them his “two whores”.
When she was 14, the girl described how her mother refused to buy her the mobile phone she wanted.
However, she claims the accused man said he would buy her the phone if she “gave him a wank”. She said she couldn’t remember her mother’s reaction but afterwards, the man said he was only messing.
The court heard he bought her a phone but she was not allowed use it after 10pm at night. She claimed on one occasion, when the accused man came to her bedroom to take her phone from her, he stood at the door with his erect penis exposed.
She said she started screaming and ran downstairs and there was some shouting between her mother and her partner but the next morning “it was like nothing had happened”.
Under cross-examination, the girl denied she had set about on a deliberate course to destroy her mother’s relationship.
Sentencing of the man was adjourned to February 21.
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