A TEENAGE girl said she has developed trust issues following an incident where a 66-year-old neighbour attempted to kiss her, made some sexual remarks to her, and offered to go to bed with her.
She outlined in a victim impact statement, read out by Judge James McNulty in court last week, that she developed trust issues because the man was a close family friend.
‘It’s hit me quite hard mentally and I cannot trust anyone,’ she said in her statement.
The court heard he was convicted at a previous court sitting of one count of sexual assault relating to September 20th last year in a West Cork town, and that a probation report was sought ahead of sentencing.
Reporting restrictions were imposed by Judge McNulty to protect the identity of the girl.
Judge McNulty said he would like for her to get counselling to deal with the incident and said she needs to do it for her healing and future happiness.
‘Now is the time to do it, because if you don’t address it now, it will linger,’ said Judge McNulty.
The court heard that both parties live in semi-detached houses and when the girl went into her front garden she asked her neighbour if he had seen a book delivery.
‘He stretched out his hand and pulled her in an attempt to kiss her while maintaining a tight grip on her other arm. He also made some sexual and suggestive remarks, while the girl tried to get away,’ recapped Judge McNulty
‘He offered to go to bed with her when she said she was going to bed.’
When arrested and interviewed by officers from West Cork’s Protective Services Unit (PSU) in Dunmanway, the man twice denied the incidents.
The probation report outlined that there is little chance that he will re-offend and is deemed in the ‘low’ category of a risk of re-offending.
His solicitor said the incident was ‘out of character’ for his client who, he said, is ‘very remorseful.’
‘He was heavily involved in her life and collected them from school and he accepts what he did was wrong,’ said the man’s solicitor.
Judge McNulty commented that this is not something a granddad would want on his record and that ‘on this foolish day, he did something more foolish.’ The probation report outlined that the defendant was experiencing a low mood and persistent isolation during the same period and has a history of depression.
‘He needs to get out more and relate to people in a healthy way and his adult children need to step up to the plate. He shouldn’t be burdened with the full-time care of his wife,’ said Judge McNulty, who added that a bad mix of alcohol and prescription drugs led to his ‘flawed judgement’ on the day.
The court heard that the defendant had brought €5,000 to court for the girl and Judge McNulty directed that €4,000 be given to her. He advised the girl to pay for counselling sessions with the money.
‘This man has done more good than bad in his life, and this was an isolated incident of bad behaviour. He’s paid a lot of compensation and we will keep him under scrutiny,’ said the judge.
Judge McNulty placed the defendant under the supervision of the probation services for one year, and indicated that the likely outcome would be a suspended sentence which would act as a deterrent for the man. The defendant was also ordered to lodge into court a bond of €1,000, which he will get back, if there is no offending in the interim.
Judge McNulty remanded him on continuing bail to appear in court again in October of next year, with an updated probation report.
He also commended the girl on the way she had handled the case.