Monday 22 July 2019

'Don't act like you don't want it' - Dad (38) who sexually assaulted Dublin shop girl claimed it was 'banter

Case appeared before Dun Laoghaire District Court
Case appeared before Dun Laoghaire District Court
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

A shop assistant who was touched on her breast and bottom by a customer who told her "don't act like you don't want it" has said she is glad that people believed her.

The woman, who is in her early 20s, sought help from a psychologist and has since left her job because she was upset at "everyone knowing what happened to her".

John Costello (38) had claimed his behaviour towards the woman was "banter".

However, following a hearing earlier this year, he was found guilty of sexually assaulting her at a shop in south Dublin.

Dun Laoghaire District Court heard Costello suffered a serious brain injury after a car crash in 1997 and did not understand social boundaries as well as he should.

The case went before Judge Anne Watkin for sentencing after she ordered a probation report.

The judge ordered Costello, of Blackthorn Green, Sandyford, to enter into a probation bond for a year and pay €1,000 compensation to the victim.

In an impact statement, the woman said she was "stressed" and found it very difficult to tell a court what had happened to her, as she was not comfortable talking about such matters.

However, she said she was relieved that she was believed.

Defence solicitor Michael Staines said Costello, a married man with a child, understood what he did was totally wrong.

He added that Costello was a kind and intelligent man whose personality and life were changed by a catastrophic accident 20 years ago.

In her evidence, the victim said she was dusting shelves on February 7, 2015 when Costello came up to her and said: "I was looking for you. Can you bend over for me?"

When he saw she was kneeling down to clean a shelf, he added: "You're on your knees for me already."

The woman said she laughed off his comments as she did not want to be rude to a customer.

She said Costello then leaned over, and she thought he was picking up a cushion, but he grabbed her breast.

She pushed his hand away, shouting: "What are you doing?" Costello responded by saying: "Don't act like you don't want it."

The victim said she was in shock, and continued to clean the shelves while Costello walked off.

He came back and said to her "Come here close, I want to tell you something" and touched her bottom.


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