A High Court judge has dismissed allegations that a father sexually abused his child after the couple separated.
In JEG v IS, a ten year old girl, referred to as E, had been taken to Russia by her mother, who came from Kazakhstan. Her relationship with E’s British father had come to an end in 2005. In summer 2009 the mother took E to Russia with her and she has not seen her father since.
Prior to their departure, the mother claimed that the father had sexually abused his daughter in the years since their separation. Family Division judge Mrs Justice Russell explained:
“These allegations which her mother and maternal grandmother say were disclosed to them by E were investigated by the Metropolitan Police and by Westminster Social Services in early 2009 and both investigations concluded that there was no basis for taking the matter further.”
E was interviewed twice during the investigations but made no disclosures of sexual abuse.
It was not until 2011 that the father located mother and daughter in Moscow. He successfully applied for contact with E in the Russian courts but the mother was uncooperative, failing to take her to a contact centre and removing her from school. In December last year she returned to the UK.
The mother then returned to the English courts, seeking a finding that the father had indeed abused E despite the earlier finding that there was no evidence for this claim. The father, meanwhile, sought a finding that the mother had “fabricated the allegations to undermine contact and has caused E ‘serious emotional harm.’ “
Mrs Justice Russell ruled in the father’s favour, declaring:
“I do not find any of the allegations of sexual abuse are proved on the balance of probabilities… [There is a] lack of any convincing detail as to how the allegations came to light….instead relying on generalised observations of sexual abuse victims which [the mother] said she’d researched. Her delay in reporting allegations to the local authority do not ring true and are not indicative of a parent who believes that their child has been abused.”
The mother had, said the judge, deliberately set out to win the father’s trust in the run-up to her departure for Russia.
“[The mother] must have deliberately set out to gain his trust by ensuring contact took place without difficulty and that she was on good terms with him. Either she did not believe that sexual abuse had ever taken place, or she cynically and deliberately placed her daughter at risk of further abuse for the 4 months prior to her move to Moscow. On balance I find it more likely than not that she did not believe her daughter to be at risk. I do not think that she would place E in danger, but rather that she knew she was safe because the allegations had no foundation and were not true.”