THE HIGH COURT has made orders allowing Tusla, the Child and Family Agency (CFA), to place a teenage boy, who is accused of participating in the rape of his sister, in a secure facility for troubled youths.
Tusla sought the orders because the teen, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has been engaging in behaviour that places his own life in danger and the health and safety of others at risk.
Lawyers for Tusla told the High Court today that the 15-year-old has a history of drug taking and alcohol abuse and has absconded from various placements.
The teen is described as being highly vulnerable and having been exposed to anti-social behaviour from a young age, and has claimed he was sexually abused by a male relative.
Late last year he was found late at night by gardaí on a Dublin street “unconscious, alone and hyperthermic,” counsel for Tusla David Leahy BL, instructed by Conor Fottrell of Mason, Hayes and Curran solicitors, said.
The boy has also suffered a number of serious physical injuries from engaging in risk-taking activities and had refused to allow himself be properly treated for those injuries, counsel added.
The social work team that has tried to help the boy fears such behaviour could result in his death as he lacks insight into what he is doing. He has also presented at various garda stations late at night in a highly aggressive state, counsel said.
The teen first came to the attention of Tusla some years ago and has been the subject of care orders. He was placed at non-secure units, which have not worked out. He had gone back to live with his family, but could not longer do so and had up to very recently been effectively homeless.
Counsel said there were also a number of serious allegations against the teen that are being investigated – including one made by his sister, who claims he held a knife to her throat while a friend of his raped her.
There are other allegations of violent behaviour against the teen – including that he struck somebody with a bottle, and it is alleged he obtained knives and had plotted to attack a person who insulted him.
In recent weeks the teen was taken into the care by Tusla following an application to the District Court. Counsel said when the application for care orders came before the District Court last month the judge hearing the case expressed his strong concerns about the teen’s situation.
Counsel said Tusla now wants the boy placed in a secure environment at a facility in the State, noting that a bed at a small, secure facility for teenagers has just come available. It is hoped the teen will avail of the various services and structures the placement will provide for him, counsel added.
After hearing Tusla’s application, Ms Justice Eileen Creedon made a number of orders including one allowing the boy to be placed at the secure facility by members of An Garda Síochána.
The judge said the teen’s situation is “very concerning” and she is satisfied the secure placement was being sought “not for punitive reasons” but for “therapeutic, educational, and welfare reasons”.
The judge added that the allegations of violence against the teen have yet to be proven. The case will return before the court later this week.