herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Sex-claim Ms D tells of fury at portrayal of McCabe as 'a hero'

Ms D said she had ‘a personal grievance’ against garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe
Ms D said she had ‘a personal grievance’ against garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe

A young woman made a sexual-assault complaint against Sgt Maurice McCabe less than a year after her father was moved to new duties because of a complaint by the garda whistleblower.

The Disclosures Tribunal heard that her father was subjected to disciplinary proceedings that resulted in his reassignment in January 2005.

Just 11 months later, the woman, known as Ms D, made an allegation against Sgt McCabe. Ms D, who was then a teenager, said she had been molested by Sgt McCabe during a game of hide and seek when she was six or seven.

Fault

The allegation was denied by Sgt McCabe and the Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to prosecute.

Ms D's father was asked at the Disclosures Tribunal about his relationship with Sgt McCabe after the disciplinary proceedings. He said it was his own fault that he was reassigned and not the fault of Sgt McCabe.

Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, put it to him that he was "on poor terms with Sgt McCabe" from the beginning of 2006 onwards.

"I wouldn't say poor terms," he said. "We weren't friends. We had a working relationship."

Asked by Diarmaid McGuinness, counsel for the tribunal, if he had been involved in a campaign to discredit Sgt McCabe, Ms D's father replied: "Absolutely not."

When journalists began contacting him in 2014, seeking to speak to his daughter, the garda said he did not ask them how they knew about the allegation she had made.

"I presumed what had happened with [Ms D] - which had been reported in 2006 - was an open secret in the guards," he said.

"So I presumed journalists would have been aware."

He said he was wary of his daughter speaking to journalists but did not stand in her way.

"She needed some closure. She felt her case was never treated with the seriousness it deserved and until it was, she couldn't go on with her life."

Ms D said she told her story to a journalist because she was "furious" that the whistleblower was being portrayed as "a hero".

She told the Disclosures Tribunal how she became upset and had to walk out of a college lecture during which Sgt McCabe was described as "an honourable man".

"I wanted to vent. I wanted someone to listen to me," she said of her decision to contact Irish Independent journalist Paul Williams.

Ms D said she "had a personal grievance" against Sgt McCabe over what she alleged he had done.

"I simply wanted people to understand there was a different side to this man and he was not the saint he was being portrayed to be. He was being described as a hero."

Unhappy

During emotional testimony, a tearful Ms D said that after she had decided that she wanted to speak to a journalist, her father had suggested she may wish to speak to Mr Williams.

The journalist's name was suggested to Ms D's father by his friend, Det Supt John O'Reilly.

Two articles appeared in the Irish Independent in April 2014, in which neither Ms D nor Sgt McCabe were identified, stating a young woman was unhappy with how a complaint she had made against an unnamed garda had been investigated.

The tribunal has previously heard how, as a teenager, Ms D complained to gardai in 2006 that she had been molested by Sgt McCabe when she was aged six or seven during a game of hide and seek.

Ms D subsequently developed coping issues and went to the HSE's Rian counselling service in 2013. During two sessions with counsellor Laura Brophy she mentioned her allegations against Sgt McCabe.

Ms Brophy subsequently erroneously sent a notification to HSE social services containing a totally inaccurate allegation of digital rape.

A series of further errors led to this allegation being referred to Bailieborough Garda Station in Co Cavan.

Ms D told the tribunal she had not wanted any allegation to be referred to social services when she went for counselling.

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