This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 5 °C Monday 21 October, 2019
Advertisement

Father given suspended sentence after assaulting childcare worker while dropping son at creche

The 30-year-old married man pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault on a date last year.

Image: Laura Hutton via RollingNews.ie

A FATHER FOUND guilty of sexually assaulting a childcare working while he dropped his son off at a creche in Dublin has been given a three-month suspended sentence.

The 30-year-old married man pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault on a date last year. He was convicted following a trial before Judge John Hughes at Dublin District Court today.

The victim was left traumatised and quit her job afterwards, the court was told.

In evidence, the woman agreed with state solicitor Michelle Sheeran that it happened when she was pushing a trolley to the kitchen to prepare meals for children in the creche.

She saw the accused with his young son arrive. She told him she could not take the boy to his class because she had to get meals ready.

He then walked on with his son.

“I felt his hand going across my chest area, I froze,” she said. There was plenty of space for him go around her and the trolley, she said.

Giving evidence via video-link she said she froze and could not believe it happened.

In cross-examination, defence solicitor Mark O’Sullivan, told her his client’s version, which he gave in a statement to the investigating Garda.

The man claimed he had put his left hand out as he went past her and made contact with her shirt, and her shirt only. He was not looking in her direction as he walked on, the solicitor said.

She agreed contact lasted one or two seconds but she added, “I could feel a hand across my chest”.

The solicitor referred to the accused’s statement in which he told gardaí that he put his hand out as a “thank you gesture” for giving way, letting him walk by her and the trolley.

She said that was not true and there was plenty of room to walk around.

She felt very uncomfortable and in all her years’ experience in childcare there was never any contact like that with a parent, she said 

The solicitor put it to her that it was possible it was a mistake or an accident but she did not accept that, replying, “No, definitely not a mistake”. She also said she did not understand how it could have been a gesture.

Asked about the man’s claim she smiled at him, she told Judge Hughes, “No, I froze on the spot, I literally froze, thinking, what just happened?”.

I didn’t think it was a very good example with his son present, I felt very uncomfortable, I thought it was not right to do it in front of the child at his creche.

She did not recall him saying anything to her after she told him she would not be able to bring him into the classroom.

CCTV

CCTV was shown.

The footage was recorded by an elevated camera from behind the childcare worker. It showed a door open with the man standing there holding his son’s hand, to his right. He walked past and his left hand reached into the creche worker’s front, chest area as he passed her with his child.

O’Sullivan asked the court to note his client did not look as he walked by the woman and he claimed he put his hand out to thank her. Sheeran asked the judge to consider the victim’s testimony as well as the video evidence.

She argued that in civil society it was not acceptable to say thank you and put your hand along a lady’s breast.

Judge Hughes found the man guilty and was told he had one prior conviction for theft for which he received an 18-month suspended sentence in 2015.

O’Sullivan asked the court note his client was a construction worker earning about €400 a week. He asked the judge to take into account that the offence was not at the serious end of the scale and that the defence had consented to he woman giving evidence via video-link.

The childcare worker’s victim impact statement was read out.

She described how she suffered anxiety afterwards and she had to leave her job. She was crying and could not eat.

It affected her relationship with her family and her partner. He isolated herself from her friends and did not leave her home, she said.

“I found myself wearing extra clothing, I just wanted to cover up,” he said.

The judge said the sexual assault was at the lower to middle end of the scale.

He suspended the three-month sentence on condition the accused did not reoffend within the next year.

He told the accused, who did not address the court, he had to pay €1,000 compensation before 1 December and remain supervised by the Probation Service for the next 12 months.

He would have to complete appropriate rehabilitation recommended and have no contact with the victim, he was warned.

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Tom Tuite

Read next:

COMMENTS (12)