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File photo of a courtroom Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
Sexual Assault

Man jailed for six months for grabbing teenager by her underwear in Fermoy

Judge Joanne Carroll said the man had “done a shocking wrong to a young, innocent girl”.

A MAN IN his 30s has been jailed for six months after he grabbed a teenager by her underwear as she chatted with friends during her lunch break from school in Fermoy, Co Cork.

Kamil Szymczak, of Chapel Hill, Fermoy, Co Cork, appeared before the district court in the town yesterday where he entered a guilty plea in relation to the sexual assault of a teenager in Chapel Hill Fermoy on 7 February.

Inspector Tony Sullivan told the court that the girl was on her lunch break from school with two friends on Chapel Hill in Fermoy when Szymczak and another man came towards them.

The girls had their backs turned to the two men. The victim was shocked when the accused, who is 35 years old, grabbed the top of her thong underwear and pulled it.

A local male teenager witnessed the incident and confronted the two men. The girl and her friend went back to school and the injured party cried in the toilet before reporting what had had happened to her on her lunch break.

Defence solicitor Ciaran O’Keeffe said his client was under the influence of intoxicants at the time of the offence.

However, he stressed that he was in no way excusing the appalling and despicable behaviour of a grown man against a teenage girl.

O’Keeffe said that his client wanted to register his “deepest apology to the victim for any and all distress that he had caused her by his actions”.

“He accepts that it was a wrong and terrible thing to do to a young girl – indeed, that no matter what age the victim was, it was a reprehensible act.”

His said his client had attempted to address his alcohol and drug problems since going in to custody in relation to the offence on 8 February.

O’Keeffe said his client was aware of the gravity of the offence.

“It was a terrifying experience for a young girl sitting out with her friends at lunchtime in broad daylight in Fermoy.”

‘Shocking violation’

Inspector Sullivan said that Szymczak had a total of 26 previous convictions for possession of drugs, burglary, assault and criminal damage. He indicated that the accused had no previous convictions offences for sexual offences.

Judge Joanne Carroll read the teenage girl’s victim impact statement, having risen for 15 minutes to give the document serious consideration.

“This was a sexual assault on a young schoolgirl out with her friends at lunch time – - it was a shocking violation of her person – the defendant by his action has stolen her right to be carefree and in doing so, he has wronged he most profoundly,” she said.

Sullivan said that Szymczak was on bail at the time of the offence on an assault charge of which he had been convicted and sentenced to 15 months earlier this week at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Taking the guilty plea into consideration, Judge Carroll said the appropriate sentence was one of six months. The Polish national has served three months in custody and the remaining three months will run consecutive to the 15 month sentence imposed on him this week at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge Carroll also ordered that Szymczak’s name be placed on the Sex Offenders Register for a period of 10 years, emphasising that he had “done a shocking wrong to a young, innocent girl”.

Olivia Kelleher