BY OLIVIA KELLEHER
A 64-YEAR-old West Cork man who previously avoided a custodial sentence for sexually assaulting a teenage patient in Cork University Hospital (CUH) has now been jailed after he approached a 17-year-old girl in a bus station and rubbed his body up against hers.
Andrew O’Donovan of Butlersgift, Drimoleague, pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual assault on the 17-year-old girl on August 20th, 2020 and has been jailed for 27 months.
As Mr O’Donovan was led away by prison officers he shouted ‘I did nothing to her’ whilst rattling his medication box and insisting he needed to go home to feed his cattle.
In a powerful victim impact statement at Cork Circuit Criminal Court the young woman said that she had gone to Cork on the day the offence occurred.
She had her hair done in the city and was waiting on a bus home when O’Donovan approached her. ‘The accused approached me and went to rub off me.
‘I was scared and tried to make eye contact with other people pleading for help, nobody seemed to notice. He moved away and then came back and started to do the same thing.
‘He left me with a feeling of being dirty and unclean. I feel physically sick when I think of the evening and what happened to me.
‘I don’t feel safe anymore. I feel I have to cover my body completely in case I draw any unwanted attention to myself.’
The young woman told Judge Sean O’Donnabhain that she fears for her safety when she is in public.
She stands next to the security guard at the bus station if her boyfriend isn’t with her.
‘It is so unfair that I am the one suffering after this. I was an innocent party minding my own business.’
Detective Garda Craig Peterson said that Mr O’Donovan had asked the young woman if she would meet him before lunging at her as as if to touch her breasts.
woman managed to avoid having her breasts touched.
Garda Peterson said that O’Donovan was without convictions until the death of his wife in recent years.
He stated that the widower had a ‘meagre existence’ and seemed to have no insight in to his behaviour.
Defence Barrister, Dermot Sheehan, stressed that the terms of his client’s bail included him not using public transport or travelling to Cork city unless for a medical or legal appointment.
O’Donovan has complied with his bail conditions.
He said his client was diagnosed with a hyper activity disorder in the 1970’s and was on disability for his complaint.
He added that his client was a ‘unusual person’ to converse with as he wandered off on tangents.
Judge O’Donnabhain said that the 18 month suspended sentence imposed on O’Donovan in 2020 for his first offence hadn’t proven to be any sort of deterrent to him.
Last year the court heard that the assault on a 17-year-old girl at CUH by Andrew O’Donovan was only interrupted because his heart monitor began to accelerate.
A nurse spotted the change in the monitor reading and went to the ward to investigate.
She thought that the West Cork man was having a heart attack. The assault occurred on May 14th, 2018 when O’Donovan was also a patient at the hospital.
The victim in the case had sustained life threatening injuries and was being treated in CUH.
She was admitted to a ward in CUH which also contained three adult men.
One of the men was Mr O’Donovan whom the court heard approached the victim in the early hours of the morning of May 14th, 2018.
He sexually assaulted her while she lay in bed.
She couldn’t reach the emergency call button arising out of the seriousness of her injuries.
Mr O’Donovan initially denied touching the girl and said he was only trying to shake her hand.
Judge O’Donnabhain said that the bus station assault was a ‘nasty experience’ for the injured party.
He reactivated the 18 month suspended sentence which O’Donovan received for the hospital assault.
Judge O’Donnabhain said that O’Donovan seemed to be without ‘insight in to the fact that he might be a danger to others.’
He noted that the defendant had a personality disorder of some type.
In relation to the second offence he jailed O’Donovan for 18 months suspending nine months of the sentence.
As the offences are running consecutively the widower will serve 27 months in jail.