A former RUC reservist was one of two men who appeared in court yesterday accused of committing a catalogue of child sex offences in the south Down area.
The charges relate to allegations of child sexual abuse including rape and gross indecency, which were said to have occurred during the 1970s and 1980s.
Last night detectives also charged a woman in relation to the inquiry. She is due to appear before Newtownards Magistrates Court today.
The woman has been charged with 15 counts of cruelty, four counts of indecent assault and four counts of gross indecency.
During yesterday’s court hearing, the 50-year-old former reservist, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is accused of raping and indecently assaulting a young girl, some time between January 1, 1983, and December 31, 1984.
He also stands accused of indecently assaulting a boy, aged between six to 10 years of age, as well as engaging in gross indecency with a male under the age of 21. The charges were said to have occurred between 1983 and 1986.
The former officer, who appeared in court, only spoke to confirm he understood the charges. He is also accused of making threats to kill against the alleged male victim, possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence and possession of 14 rounds of 9mm bullets.
He denied all charges against him, except possession of the ammunition.
During the hearing at Downpatrick Magistrates Court yesterday, Detective Sergeant Gareth McAllister said he could connect the accused to the charges.
DS McAllister told the court that the offences were committed against the children of an ex-girlfriend of the former officer.
DS McAllister told the court: “We are dealing with historic cases of crimes which relate to sexual abuse against children. They are wicked crimes. The statements are the most horrific I have ever read.”
District Judge Norman Bates opposed bail on the grounds that the defendant could likely interfere with witnesses or the injured parties.
As the former reservist was remanded into custody, his wife, who had remained calm as the allegations were read out in court, lost her composure and tearfully called out: “I love you, I really love you.”
He will reappear in court on June 17.
The second man, who also can not be identified for legal reasons, stands accused of two counts of rape, indecent assault against a child, gross indecency with a child, and two counts of indecent assault against a female during 1983 to 1986.
He was also charged with 18 counts of cruelty against a child under the age of 16, spanning a period from 1975 to 1988.
Dressed in red tracksuit bottoms and a navy T-shirt, the 56-year-old only nodded and whispered “yes” when asked if he understood the charges against him.
Police Constable Robert Dixon told the court he could connect the accused to the charges.
The accused was remanded into custody and will reappear at Downpatrick Magistrates Court, via videolink, on June 10.
Seven people were arrested in Co Down last Friday to answer questions on what police said were allegations of “historical sexual abuse”.
Three men and a woman being questioned were released on bail pending reports to the Public Prosecution Service.