Creche Sexual Assault Trial for 29-Year-Old Man Begins

A childcare employee accused of sexually assaulting four girls in a creche was concerned about children sitting on his knee as he felt it made him “vulnerable to complaints”, his trial has heard. It is alleged that the man, on dates between February 2015 and December 2016, assault the group of girls 23 times. The individual in question had entered a plea of not guilty in relation to the accusations that have been registered by the girls who were aged between five and eight-years-old at the time of the assault.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was informed on Monday that a performance review carried out by the creche in September 2014 said the man had an “excellent relationship with the children. Children of all ages hang on to your every word and in some cases hang on to you physically.

The man is standing trial in relation to ten counts of sexual assault in relation to the first girl, eight in relation to the second girl, three in relation to the third and two in relation to the fourth. The offences are all alleged to have occurred in different places at the crèche and on a bus owned by the crèche .

The creche owner agreed with legal representative for the defence. Seán Guerin SC that this was a positive comment in relation to the man’s relationship with the children. She said: “It showed they wanted to be in his company and they enjoyed his company. They had a good relationship with him.”

In order to maintain the anonymity of the children involved, the man’s identity and the name of crèche cannot be revealed by the media. Prosecuting Counsel Orla Crowe said the man was first given a tole in in the kitchen of the crèche in 2013. However, not long after this he started to work with after-school children. In December 2016 was was relieved of this position as he had not attained the required level of childcare qualification to hold this position. The man’s job included taking children to school in the early mornings and bring them back to the creche after school ended. As an extra duty he supervised the older after-school children. Ms Crowe said an allegation of sexual misconduct against the man was first submitted on 12 December 2016 when one of the girls informed another child who, in turn, advised one of the other creché workers. The child’s parents were made aware of the situation and they contacted the gardaí. The court was informed that these assaults typically took place in an upstairs toilet in the creche. Allegedly, the man repeatedly took the child out of her designated room, brought her down a corridor that had a CCTV camera, took her into the bathroom and sexually assaulted her in an area external to the cubicles. The jury was told this bathroom area is also captured by a CCTV camera, except for an area just inside the door. This door features a glass panel, meaning the man would have been “easily visible” to anyone passing by. The court was told that the d that the children would be available for cross-examination by the defence team over a video link, and videos of previously conduct Garda interviews will be shown to the court during the trial. The children’s parents and the specialist garda interviewers will also be available. The court was advised by the créche owner that the man had no relevant qualification in child care when he started work but had begun his required training. This was standard company policy and the man had completed a one-day child safeguarding workshop. In relation to the man’s suitability for the position the proprietor said that she was of the opinion that it would be good to have a male role model in the crèche. The owner went on to say that legislation had changed and anyone working in a crèche after 31 December 2016 had to have a FETAC level 5 qualification. Due to this fact the man was knowledgeable of the fact that he would not be able to continue his position because he did not have this qualification. On 12 December 2016 the creche owner in the management office when a staff member reported to her that one of the after school students had advised another child that she had been made to kiss the man in the ‘privates’. She told the court that she was no confident on which course of action to follow after hearing this in case it was just a case of some of the children being fanciful. She contacted the parents of the children involved and the next day a father of one of the girls contacted the gardaí in relation to the incident. Due to this the man was told that he was be suspended from his role as there was a serious allegation submitted against him. The trial continues.