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Man (51) convicted of sexual assault after touching 14-old-girl in clothing store

He was remanded in custody for sentencing in April.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A 14-YEAR-OLD girl who was shopping in a branch of Penneys in Cork city was sexually assaulted by a man who touched her private parts outside her clothes.

Michael Toner (51) of McSweeney Quay in Bandon, Co Cork was convicted by a jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court  of the sexual assault of the teen girl.

The offence occurred on 3 July 2018 when the young girl was in town with her mother.

She went to a branch of Penneys on Patrick Street. As she browsed the shop she felt a hand on her private parts. Mr Toner was fondling her outside her clothes.

Niamh Stewart, Barrister for the defence, said that her client had never been before the courts

He suffers from severe depression and will be homeless and without a job when he leaves prison.

She said that the incident was at the lower end of the scale when it comes to sexual assault.

Mr Toner is on medication for depression and will be on the sexual offenders list arising out of his conviction. Ms Stewart said that her client’s life had been turned upside down arising out of his behaviour.

Judge Brian O’Callaghan said he couldn’t comprehend how someone could spend 51 years on the planet and suddenly commit an offence of this nature.

In an emotional victim impact statement the teenager said that she was having a normal outing with her mother when Mr Toner started to touch her private parts.

“He grabbed my private parts. I was very upset and crying. In the beginning I was thinking about it all the time. I used to think of the feel of his hands on my private parts.”

The young girl said that used to love going to the city centre shopping but has stopped doing so arising out of trauma from the incident. Her parents were also deeply traumatised and saddened by the incident.

Toner was remanded in custody until his sentencing hearing on 22 April next at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

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Olivia Kelleher

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