Gardai arrested father who told undercover officer he would abuse daughter on webcam
A court made a full Care Order for a young child whose father was ready to sexually abuse her via webcam.
The father had been in contact through an internet chat room with a person whom he believed shared his interest in sexual activity with infants, but the person he was conversing with was an undercover police officer from the UK.
When he told the undercover police officer that his wife was out shopping and that he would abuse his daughter live on webcam the undercover officer contacted An Garda Siochana, who arrested him and took the child into care under Section 12 of the Child Care Act.
According to a submission by the Child and Family Agency, the incident - which took place in a rural Irish town - meant the child was subsequently placed with foster carers under an Interim Care Order.
According to the submission by the Child and Family Agency, the child’s mother had been groomed by his father from the age of 13 or 14 before eventually giving birth to the child at the age of 18 after becoming pregnant at 17.
The child's mother opposed the Care Order application. However, the judge granted it, stating the court was satisfied that she continued to have contact with her potentially abusive husband despite her denials.
The case centred on the belief that the mother had been groomed by the father as a child, was under his influence and therefore could not guarantee the child’s safety if she was returned to her.
He has since left the following his arrest and played no part in the court proceedings.
Both parents are from another jurisdiction and are no longer living in Ireland and, in the final days of the hearing when it was reconvened, evidence was given that the mother had continued contact with her husband in the other jurisdiction.
The judge described it as “a very complex case involving serious matters including allegations of the most serious nature. Some of the evidence heard was most disturbing and upsetting,” he said.
When the judge delivered the verdict after a number of weeks, he said he was not satisfied to the level of proof necessary that the child had been abused or that the mother was aware of such abuse, if it existed.
However, he was satisfied that the child’s welfare was likely to be avoidably impaired in the future, and that the mother would not be a protective factor as she continued to have contact with the father. He granted a full Care Order till 18 on this ground.