A 15-year-old girl who posted nude pictures of herself on Facebook was assaulted by both parents when they tried to control her.
Those were the facts outlined yesterday by Inspector John Deasy and Judge Olann Kelleher finalised the case against the parents.
They were both given five-month jail terms suspended for five months on condition that they attend any parenting course recommended by the Probation Service.
Solicitor Leo Murphy said that while the pleas of guilty were accepted by the two accused, they disputed certain aspects of the case put forward by the prosecution.
He said the parents were only motivated by a desire to protect their daughter from putting herself in a vulnerable position by the nature of the material she was posting on Facebook. Mr Murphy said that they had attended a family strengthening programme even before this occurred and had tried to deal with challenging behaviour from their daughter.
“They felt she was putting herself in harm’s way. They were concerned for her safety,” Mr Murphy said.
The injured party’s father denied kicking her or knocking her to the floor in his attempt to get her phone.
There was a footprint on the girl’s face, according to Insp Deasy, and Mr Murphy said the girl’s mother denied stamping on her daughter’s face. He said the injured party admitted that she had bit hard on her mother’s forefinger and thumb.
Judge Olann Kelleher said it was a sad case where a girl had been viciously assaulted by her parents.
He said: “The fact that it is their daughter makes it more unfortunate. She has lost contact with her siblings and she missed them terribly. I have to take [the assaults] seriously.”
Mr Murphy said the family had been meeting in order to rebuild relationships and the other siblings were attending in that regard.
Insp Deasy said the incident with her father occurred when he arrived to see her standing at an upstairs window of the family home using her phone despite the fact that her parents had told her she was not to use her phone.
She told gardaí that when he tried to get the phone from her he pulled her hair. She also said he kicked her on the ground — a claim which he denied.
The teenager then left the house and, later in the evening, her mother found her and brought her home and there was another altercation. The girl claimed her mother slapped her across the face, that she threatened to bite her mother, and that her mother kicked her in order to stop her.
The teenager is no longer living with her family.
Mr Murphy, solicitor, said her parents had become concerned about substance abuse, promiscuity, and self-harm by their 15-year-old daughter, and the posting of the pictures described.
Sentencing had been put back for a report from the probation service on the parents and a victim impact statement.
The parties are not identified in this report for legal reasons.
Her father was before Cork District Court on a charge of assaulting her. Her mother was also in court facing sentencing on a charge of assault causing harm to her.
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