Cork man on trial for sexual assault of family members

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A WOMAN has told Limerick circuit court of how she was forced to masturbate her former brother-in-law when she was just 11 years of age after he promised to teach her to drive.

The evidence was heard at the opening day of the trial of a 50-year-old man from North Cork who pleaded not guilty to 13 charges of indecent and sexual assault. The victims include his former sister-in-law; three neices of his former wife as well as his own son and daughter.

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The victim, who is now 33 years old, told the jury of six men and six women of how the defendant promised to teach her to drive and sat her on his lap. She couldn’t reach the pedals and all she did was steer the car. When they were finished, he told her, “I did you a favour, now you can do one for me”. He put her hand around his penis and forced her to masturbate him.

After being dropped home, she met the man again at the local shop and he gave her 50 pence.

Defence counsel Paddy McGrath SC questioned the plausibility of the incident and suggested that the victim had an ulterior motive to “get him back” for the break up of his marriage to her sister.

The woman, who broke down twice in the witness box, told of on a number of occasions when she asked the defendant for money.

“I’d often ask for money and he would say I would have to find it and that it would be in his pocket. There was a hole in his pocket. I didn’t masturbate him, I could just feel his penis.”

Accepting that she had a problem with alcohol in the past, she said the incidents happened three or four times over a two year period, but the details were very vague.

“I blotted the whole thing out. I drank heavily through my 20s, I am three years sober now and I thought the memories would just go away when I stopped”.

Referring to an encounter she had with family members of his client’s new partner, Mr McGrath claimed that the witness was out to get his client for a long time.

The woman denied saying in December 2000 that she was going to “get him, I don’t know how but I will get him”. However she accepted that she wanted him punished “for what he did” to all her family.

She added that her family “didn’t have the nerve to come forward”. She was the first to make a statement but the decision to go to the gardaí was a “decision made together”.

Prosecuting counsel Michael Collins said the court will hear from up to six victims of alleged sexual abuse.

The trial continues before Judge Carroll Moran and is expected to last into next week.