Sunday 20 October 2019

Barber who groped teenage schoolgirl on bus is spared jail

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Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A barber sexually assaulted a teenage schoolgirl on a Dublin Bus, leaving her afraid to use public transport alone.

Abdel Dulkumoni (32) groped the 16-year-old's bottom four times after standing behind her, then he got off at the same stop and had an "inappropriate" conversation with her.

The victim told how since the assault she has had panic attacks, will not travel alone on buses and is "freaked out" when strangers speak to her.

Dulkumoni, with an address at Walkinstown Drive, Walkinstown, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the girl in the incident in the south of the city on June 19, 2017.

Judge Brian O'Shea found him guilty but spared him jail, giving him a two-month suspended sentence. He also registered him as a sex offender for five years.

The prosecuting garda told Dublin District Court the girl reported that she had got the bus on Dame Street, travelling south-west, and the accused got on and stood behind her.

She said he groped her bottom on four occasions during the journey and this had occurred when the bus either stopped or jerked forward.

The accused got off at the same stop as the victim, which was not his own stop in Walkinstown, and had an inappropriate conversation with her in which he referred to her appearance.

Dulkumoni had no previous convictions.

He had been in Ireland for around 10 years and was living in a house with his wife and extended family, defence solicitor Donal Quigley said.

He was currently working as a barber in Tallaght and before that he had worked in Abbey Street.

Dulkumoni had given an explanation for what happened but it was not accepted, Mr Quigley said.

In her victim impact statement, read out to court by the garda, the girl said she has had two panic attacks since the incident.

One was on the Luas not long after the incident, and the second was in her bedroom close to Christmas because she was thinking about what had happened on the bus.

"I am afraid to get on public transport by myself after the incident, I always bring a friend or family member with me," she said in her statement.

"If they can't come with me, I have to be dropped and collected wherever I go.

"I'm always looking around me when I'm in public now, I'm more cautious. I get a bit freaked out if a stranger talks to me or if someone bumps off me. I have definitely stopped hanging around with my boy friends as much, I would rather be with the girls," she continued.

"I think it has had a big effect on my social life and it has knocked my confidence, I stay at home a lot more than I would have, and I also don't have much trust in strangers.

"It has also affected my studies because I'm in my Leaving Cert year and have a court case to deal with."

Irish Independent

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