Girl told gardaí she froze after alleged sexual assault by her grandfather

A court heard the 14-year-old girl told gardaí she 'didn’t know whether to cry or scream' after the alleged incident when she was around seven years old
Girl told gardaí she froze after alleged sexual assault by her grandfather

David Raleigh

A 14-year-old girl told gardaí she “didn’t know whether to cry or scream” after her grandfather allegedly sexually assaulted her when she was around seven years old, a court heard on Tuesday.

The girl, now 16, denied making false allegations against her grandfather on the opening day of his trial today.

The accused has pleaded not guilty to two separate counts of sexually assaulting his granddaughter at a house in Co Kerry, on a date in 2012 and on another date in 2013.

The girl made a formal complaint to gardaí in 2020, alleging the accused had fondled and rubbed his fingers on her private parts while they sat on a bed at the house following a game of “hide and seek”.

The girl claimed this happened on two separate occasions, and that the first alleged assault involved the accused touching her vagina outside of her clothes, and that on the second occasion the accused pulled down her leggings and underwear and rubbed his fingers on her private parts while fondling her chest.

The girl was interviewed by specialist gardaí attached to the Kerry Garda Protective Service Unit on May 22nd, 2020.

'Bad things'

A DVD recording of the girl’s 2020 interview with gardaí was played to the court, in which the girl said her grandfather had told her to keep what occurred secret, otherwise “bad things” would happen to her mother and her grandmother.

The girl, who wept during the interview with gardaí, said she froze with fright during the alleged sexual assaults: “It wasn't normal, I know now that it wasn’t normal. I didn't know whether to cry or scream, I just stood there.”

The girl, who appeared in court via video link, told gardaí that before the alleged assaults she “really cared” for her grandfather, “we did everything together, he would bring me everywhere”. However, she was traumatised after the alleged assaults and felt “really uncomfortable and upset” and “got freaked out by it”.

Under cross-examination by the accused’s barrister, Anthony Salmon SC, the girl denied that perhaps a third party had “put you up to it”.

“No, even if someone did, I would not make false allegations as it is something you should not do,” the girl replied.

Accused denies allegations

Mr Salmon said the accused denies the allegations “entirely”.

“On behalf of (the accused), I wish to refute, push back as it were, to rebut the two allegations you made in the course of your DVD interview, that the accused sexually assaulted you. He does not accept your allegations,” Mr Salmon said.

The accused shook his head and sighed at one point while watching the girl’s 2020 interview with gardaí.

The girl’s mother wept while giving evidence that she had taken her daughter to a doctor a number of times around the time of the alleged assaults because the child’s vagina appeared to be “swollen”.

The girl’s mother said she tried “changing her diet, changing her tights, changing washing powder, changing creams” to try to reduce the swelling.

“I spoke to my parents about it and I kept changing (medicinal) creams, it would stop and then reoccur again,” the witness said, breaking down.

The accused was arrested by gardaí and interviewed under caution in November 2020. “It didn't happen, that’s the gospel truth. This is fabricated by someone,” he told gardaí.

For legal reasons, none of the parties can be identified. The trial continues Wednesday.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help. 

In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112. 

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