Jayden McCarthy, assistant at Torquay nursery, says she has not sexually abused children
A childminder told a jury that the allegations that he sexually abused children are not true.
Jayden McCarthy, 18, testified on the witness stand on the last day of his trial at Exeter Crown Court.
The defendant, from Brixham, is charged with a series of serious sexual assaults against nine children attending the nursery. He denies all the offenses.
Asked about the most serious allegation – whether he had abused a girl by changing her clothes in the bathroom – the accused replied “no”.
McCarthy, who was 16 at the time of the alleged offenses, denies a total of 16 offenses.
The final day of the trial gave the jury their first opportunity to hear directly from the defendant.
Defense attorney Mr Nicholas Lewin released the jury’s CCTV footage from inside the nursery showing the accused interacting with children while working.
The prosecution claims the footage shows the accused repeatedly sexually assaulting different children by playing with them on the floor or by applying sunscreen to their bodies. It is claimed he did this when other staff were not nearby.
McCarthy said he had no specific recollection of the alleged incidents. He said that in some of the clips other staff could have seen him. He confirmed that the daycare’s policy was never to leave the staff alone with the children.
The allegations came to light when one of the children returned home from nursery and told her parents about an alleged incident of abuse when “Jayden” was changing her in the toilet. The incident was not captured on CCTV.
McCarthy told the jury that he remembered changing the girl’s wet clothes. He had taken longer than usual because he “wasn’t used to putting on girls’ clothes.”
When the child’s parents reported the allegation, McCarthy was immediately suspended.
Mr. Lewin asked McCarthy how he felt when he was made aware of the allegation by another staff member.
“I was just shocked enough,” said the accused. “I was confused. I asked him what that meant.”
Previously, the defendant had given details of his own background.
Before moving to Brixham he had lived in Gloucester and Bude in Cornwall, he said. He is a former student of South Devon College and Paignton Academy, but his life at home had been “chaotic” and his studies interrupted.
Since the allegations were made, he said he had lost around eight stones in weight due to an eating disorder.
At the time of the alleged offenses in 2019, McCarthy had been working at the nursery for about four months. He had taken the necessary training for safeguarding. Other staff noted that he was sometimes immature and excited around children, but attributed this to his age and inexperience.
On cross-examination by prosecutor Mr. Jason Beal, he was questioned about CCTV footage showing him touching children in a sexual manner.
He admitted that he was ‘not quite sure’ what he was doing in one of the clips, but that he may have scratched his leg. In another clip, he said he was just trying to pick up a child on his lap.
When asked what he would have done if he saw another staff member appear to place their hands inappropriately on a child, he agreed that he would have reported it to a staff member.
The trial continues.
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