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Added to on March 12, 2007

Evening Herald, Saturday, 10 March 2007 by Jane Last

A mother who falsely alleged her eight-year-old daughter was raped by a teenage neighbour has been sentenced to 11 months in prison.

The woman from Co Offaly made a complaint that her then eight-year-old daughter had been taken into a wooded area and then raped by a 14-year-old neighbour. The court heard the woman made the complaint on foot of a row with the teenage boy's family.

Judge John Neilan said the defendant's allegation was outrageous and completely inexplicable, after she appeared before a District Court.

"It seems the reason behind this is that you had an argument with a neighbour and this was your vindictive mechanism to get your own back".

Judge Neilan said he was adjourning the woman's prison sentence until June 11 to allow the HSE to carry out a Section 20 report to determine whether the defendant, who is now three months pregnant, was fit to care for her school-going children.

Judge Neilan also requested the Probation Service to prepare a report and also asked gardai to inquire as to whether the teenage boy falsely accused of rape wished to make a Victim Impact Statement.

Garda O'Leary gave evidence of how he was called to the defendant's home on a date last year when she reported that a local youth had brought her young daughter to a wooded area and removed her clothing. She then made a complaint of rape.

Upon making further enquiries, gardai learned that the complaint was false.

Solicitor Brian O'Sullivan said his client acknowledged within 24 hours of making the complaint that it was false.

Mr O'Sullivan said the matter came to an end within 48 hours and there have been no further developments between the defendant and the victim's family.

He added that what his client did was "unforgivable" and she apologised for her conduct. He said her daughter, now aged nine, had not been affected by the episode.

Judge Neilan said to put a child through an "ordeal" like this was "heinous", not to mention the unfortunate "suspect she identified".

This is surely the "reductio ad absurdum" of our child abuse witch-hunt. It is true that false allegations of child abuse against Catholic clergy were soon followed by similar allegations against lay teachers and against workers in centres for young offenders. However these teachers were usually working in Catholic schools and the youth centres were the direct descendants of places like Artane and Letterfrack. (In fact the one in Finglas was formerly run by the De La Salle Brothers!). These allegations were a logical continuation of the witch-hunt against the Catholic Church.

However in recent times we have witnessed something new.

When two Dublin city councillors opposed planning permission to a developer he attempted to blackmail them with false charges of child abuse. [1].
When a Garda rejected the advances of a teenage girl she accused him of rape. [2]
A publican banned a customer from his pub. The man then put up posters around town accusing the publican of child abuse. [3]

At a pinch you could say the above allegations are the result of a "crisis of authority" in Irish society. The crisis originated in relation to the Church but now anybody who is perceived to be part of the "ruling class" is in danger of being accused - usually by one of society's losers.

But what about the woman who accuses a 14 year old boy of raping her daughter just because she had a row with his family? What sort of "authority" does the boy represent?

Rory Connor
11 March 2007

[1] "Child Abuse Blackmail against Dublin City Councillors" on 5 February 2007
[2] "Mary Raftery and False Allegations against Gardai" on 3 February 2007
[3] "Man Banned from Pub, Claims Publican is Paedophile" on 14 March 2007