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Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie
Central Criminal Court

Teenage victim says she's 'another girl of millions abused' after sexual attack outside her home

The man, who was 16 at the time of the offence, isn’t being named for legal reasons.

A YOUNG WOMAN says she did not deserve to become “another girl of millions abused by men” after being subjected to a sexual attack outside her home by a stranger.

The 19-year-old Meath man, who isn’t being named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to one count of oral rape at an address in the Leinster area on 28 November, 2019. He has no previous convictions and was aged 16 at the time of the offending. The victim was aged 15.

Ms Justice O’Connor adjourned the sentencing hearing at the Central Criminal Court to 16 November for finalisation.

Reading her victim impact statement, the woman, now aged 18, said she can’t tell herself that she will be safe while walking or at night and must check if she is being followed frequently.

She said her friends are privileged to be able to dismiss similar concerns, but that innocent part of her is “lost forever”.

The victim said when she goes out at night, she is aware that what happened could happen again. “I’m scared, more scared than anyone my age should be”.

The victim said she had imagined when younger after watching superhero movies that she would be brave when threatened. Yet, in the moment of the attack, she was “so scared” and “acted like a victim”.

“How can I think myself brave when I was a victim?” she said.

The woman said she has become a “statistic” who is “another girl of millions abused by men”. “I don’t deserve that,” she said. 

She said she is “the one scared” and would carry this fear for the rest of her life.

The investigating garda told Patrick Gageby SC, prosecuting, that on the day in question the victim was walking home when she noticed a male coming towards her. The male moved and started to walk behind her. The victim became apprehensive that she was being followed and tried to contact home.

As she put her key in the front door of her home, she heard running behind her and a male pushed her against the front door. He told her he wanted a “blowjob” and she offered him money, but he insisted he wanted oral sex on three occasions.

The victim was terrified and said “you don’t have to do this” and repeated the offer of money. He rejected this and told her she didn’t have a choice.

The accused took the victim to the side of the house, where he raped her orally.

After the attack, the victim contacted her mother to raise the alarm.

A garda investigation began and the tissue and the victim’s clothes were taken as evidence. At that stage, no suspect was identified.

However, the accused was pinpointed as a possible suspect following a disclosure to gardai a year later by a health professional.

The accused was arrested in October 2019 and interviewed by gardai with his mother present. The accused initially told gardai that he recalled meeting a girl who agreed to his request for oral sex.

The accused then acknowledged that he had attacked the teenager and had been aware of her age.

The investigating garda agreed with John Reynolds SC, defending that his client had made admissions and expressed remorse when interviewed by gardai.

He agreed with Mr Reynolds that his client had been co-operative and told gardai his mind was not in a good place at the time. The investigating garda confirmed the accused has not come to recent garda attention.

Mr Reynolds said his client was a juvenile at the time of the offending. His client wished to apologise and has written a letter of apology to the woman.

The accused is attending a programme managed by Tusla and has engaged with other relevant services.

His client comes from a respectable and hardworking family, and his parents were present in court to support him.

Mr Reynolds said a psychological report indicated that his client has a mild learning disability.

Mr Reynolds asked Ms Justice O’Connor to consider imposing a period of probation supervision on the accused to ensure that he engages with the relevant services.

Statement

In her victim impact statement, the woman said in the few seconds it took her to prepare to open the door, she heard the sound of running behind her and someone wanted to prevent her getting inside the house.

This sound signalled the end of hope that her fear that she was being following was all in her mind.

She said she had “never felt such fear” as in that moment. She becomes fearful to this day when she hears the sound of running nearby.

She said suffered from nightmares and anxiety following the attack. She was concerned that gardai and family members initially thought she was lying as elements of the attack seemed unbelievable, including that her assailant told her his name.

She said she felt there was “not one person on her side” in the days following the attack, however, this changed as gardai recognised she was standing by her version of the events.

Addressing the victim directly, Ms Justice O’Connor said she had shown bravery by making a complaint and seeing the process through to its conclusion.

Ms Justice O’Connor said her actions would help other girls who found themselves in a similar situation.

“I hope in time you will find yourself to be brave”.

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Author
Eimear Dodd and Isabel Hayes