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Man is separately subject of Tusla investigation over alleged sexual assault of girl (17) 
A mother of two young children has obtained a safety order against her estranged husband who is separately subject of a Tusla investigation into the alleged sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl. 
The case was among several before Judge Conor Fottrell at Dublin District family court on Tuesday. 
In seeking the safety order, the woman said her husband had told her he was diagnosed with anxiety disorder but “what is on paper is that he has traits of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder which is more in line with my experience”. 
When he is unwell, he can become emotionally and verbally abusive and their relationship, before he was hospitalised following a breakdown, was “punctuated by abuse and violence”, which was “particularly bad” during her first pregnancy, she said. 
Her husband, she said, had thrown a heavy foot puff at her, shouted and screamed at her and called her “obvious insults, bitch, useless”, she said. “My self-worth was on the floor during the relationship.” 
A 17-year-old girl has separately alleged she was sexually assaulted by the man and an investigation by Tusla is under way into that allegation, formally reported by the complainant last July, the court heard. 
The woman, who got a protection order last May, said she is not afraid of the man but is fearful of what might happen if he was going through “a bad patch” concerning his mental health. 
His behaviour was “so much better” since she got the protection order, she said. 
When the man is well, his parenting style and relationship with the children is good, she said, weeping. 
Under cross-examination by solicitor Sandra McAleer, for the man, the woman agreed some of the alleged incidents about which she complained occurred some two years before she sought a protection order. She denied her application was vexatious. 
Ms McAleer said the man’s employer is supportive of him and the prosecution of the protection order is a serious matter for him. 
In his testimony, the man denied being violent towards the woman or that he had thrown objects against a wall in front of the children. He said he was hospitalised after he had a breakdown two years ago resulting from mental health difficulties and had left the family home voluntarily in 2020 because conflict had arisen and he did not wish the children to witness that. 
Being in hospital was “probably the best thing that ever happened to me” because he got a proper diagnosis and treatment. He and his wife briefly got back together, he is continuing his therapy and has reconnected with friends and family. 
His wife would “belittle” his mental health issues, he said. He did not know why she applied for the protection order, she has been very concerned about their house and his rights to it, he said. 
In his decision, Judge Fottrell noted mental health difficulties are widespread in the community, said he was not going to use the man’s difficulties “as a black mark or be critical of anyone” and he wished the man well in his treatment. 
Having weighed up all issues, and the fact there are two very young children, he felt the woman’s evidence is credible and there are legitimate concerns for the safety of her and the children, he said. He granted a safety order for 12 months. Access and maintenance orders were earlier agreed between the sides. 
A grandmother, in a separate application supported by Tusla, secured orders giving her joint guardianship and sole custody and care of care of her grandchild, aged just one over year, whom she has cared for since birth. Her application was consented to by the baby’s mother and father. 
The judge assured the baby’s mother, who asked about custody into the future, said she could make any application at a future stage that she considered appropriate. 
In evidence, the grandmother said the mother had “struggled terribly” after the baby was born but is doing better and has supervised access visits to her baby daily. The child is “thriving”, the parents are good parents and this arrangement was intended to get the baby through hurdles in the early stages of its life, she said. 
The judge praised the grandmother for her efforts, said he would encourage the rebuilding of the parent child relationship and wished all well. 
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