A jury has convicted a father of raping his son from the age of six, but acquitted the mother of having sex with the boy.
Jurors took just over seven hours to return the guilty verdicts on the 64-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect his son’s identity. They also convicted him of one count of child cruelty relating to an incident where he locked his son in a box for six hours.
The jury acquitted him of charges that he raped the child with a hot fire poker.
The mother was found not guilty of having sex or simulating sex with the boy at the behest of the father.
Jurors are still deliberating on a single count of child cruelty against the mother relating to the box incident. They will return on Monday.
Prosecuting counsel Pauline Walley SC asked Mr Justice Robert Eagar to remove the father’s bail. The judge remanded the father in custody until Monday and declared him a sex offender.
He faced nine counts of raping the boy, nine counts of raping the boy with a poker and one count of cruelty. The mother faced two counts of sexual assault relating to allegations that she had sex with the boy and one count of cruelty.
The child was taken into care just before his eighth birthday, after telling his teacher that his father had been beating him and he “couldn’t take it any more”.
He was sent to a foster home where widespread sexual abuse occurred. The boy was sexually abused by another boy while in foster care. A third child is awaiting sentence for sexual abuse he carried out in the house.
The boy was sent to another foster home after about a year. He trusted his new foster parents and felt safe enough there to begin disclosing the abuse he had suffered. While in the second foster home, the boy began displaying highly disturbing and sexualised behaviour.
His foster mother told the trial she loved the boy dearly but couldn’t handle his behaviour.
The HSE was forced to send him to the UK for specialised residential treatment as no such treatment was available in Ireland. The last thing he said to his foster mother before leaving was: “I feel like a dog that nobody wants.”
Both parents pleaded not guilty to the allegations, which were alleged to have occurred between 2009 and 2011 in their Waterford home.
The parents had originally faced a total of 82 charges but 60 of these were withdrawn this week following legal argument.
The seven-week trial heard often harrowing evidence, including allegations that the child’s father filmed the child having sex with the mother and showed the footage to people who visited the house.
Other allegations heard by the jury included that the father defecated on the boy and threatened to kill him while holding a gun to his head.