We got a letter from a distraught stepfather who had been accused of sexually abusing his step-daughter from when she was 7 years old.  Subsequently, having spoken with one of our polygraph examiners, he booked a Galway City lie detector test.  This is his rather disturbing story.

Darren’s Case

“It’s true I know it is”. These were Penny’s words to her mother claiming abuse she suffered at the hands of her step father, Darren. When Penny was 7 years old she was a happy go lucky little girl. She lived in a big old Victorian house with her two brothers, mother and stepfather. This is when she claims Darren began sexually abusing her. At the time her mother, Amy, worked nightshifts as a nurse at a local hospital.

Darren allegedly moved Penny’s bedroom furniture around so that no one could see her bed from the door. After every abuse he would give Penny some cherry aid, telling her not to say anything to anyone because she was his special girl. Every time her mother was on nights he would creep into her room when everyone else had fallen asleep.

But when Penny got older the abused changed from sexual to physical violence. If she hadn’t washed the dishes properly he would hit her. He’d throw her down the stairs if she hadn’t tidied up. He forced her to wear clothes not appropriate for a 14 year old.

Sex education

It was due to her school bringing in a teacher to talk about sex education that Penny got the confidence to tell her mother about it. After Amy heard it all she questioned Darren about the issue. She wanted to know if it was true and if so, why had he done this?

Darren emphatically denied it but the next day moved out of the family home and went to stay with his mother.  He didn’t tell anyone where he had gone but told Amy that he had to leave as he was embarrassed and hurt by these false allegations. He was so ashamed of Penny for saying these things he couldn’t bear to look at her.

However, friends and family queried that if he hadn’t done anything wrong why would he leave? Was he hiding something?  Others wondered if Penny was telling the truth and although Amy loved her daughter she didn’t believe her.  She told Penny that she wanted the truth because Darren couldn’t possibly be the sort of man to do this.  Penny insisted she had been abused.

Bad behaviour

Amy found living as a single mother with three children and only one pay check coming in hard work. On top of this Penny started behaving badly, staying out till all hours. self-harming and pulling her hair out. The atmosphere in the house was unbearable, so much so that Penny went to live with her grandparents. Amy contacted social services to help her with Penny. They took Penny into a centre and talked to her about the alleged abuse she had suffered. But Penny’s answers weren’t consistent. She said she just couldn’t remember everything that had happened as it was years ago.

This made Amy really mad at Penny. Did she tell these stories just to get rid of Darren? Or did she just not remember because she’d tried to block it out if her head?

Darren stayed at his mother’s until he could afford somewhere else to live. His whole life had been turned upside down. He quit his job as he couldn’t bear his colleagues staring and whispering behind his back. Death threats had been sent to his mother’s house too.

Galway City lie detector test

 When Darren contacted our free helpline he was depressed, and desperate to prove his innocence. During his pre-test interview our polygraph examiner got to know Darren.  He got him to calm down and went through the questions he would ask him to get to the truth. He was asked if he’d ever:

  • Passionately kissed Penny
  • Had sexual contact with Penny
  • Sexually abused Penny
  • Had sexual intercourse with Penny

His test results proved he hadn’t done any of these things.  He has taken his fully analysed report to his wife and they are discussing reconciliation and treatment for Penny. Darren cannot move back into the house until they get to the bottom of why Penny lied.

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