Sunday 19 November 2017

Man sentenced for sexually assaulting number of women on Dublin bus

Sonya McLean

A POLISH man who sexually assaulted six women on various Dublin buses has been sentenced to three years with the final 16 months suspended.

Piotr Rownicki (34) of Seagrove Close, Finglas pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to seven charges of sexual assault on dates between January 2007 and May 3, 2011. He assaulted one girl twice on two different buses.



The court heard that Rownicki had no previous convictions at the time. He came to Ireland in October 2006.



His defence counsel Luigi Rea BL said Rownicki had two relationships that later broke down and which he took very badly. He said he this led to his offending.



He has since married and has a daughter.



Garda Joanne McCormack told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that Rownicki was arrested in May 2011 after he sat down on the 37 bus beside one girl he had sexually assaulted the previous spring.



He assaulted her again in the same manner by masturbating, while covering his knees with his jacket, and touching the inside of her thigh.



The girl immediately recognised Rownicki. She was in “complete shock” when he started to touch her but managed to eventually stand up. Rownicki jumped up and got off at the next stop.



The victim alerted the gardai and Rownicki was arrested a short time later after CCTV footage was obtained from the bus.



Gda McCormack said Rownicki assaulted the five other women in exactly the same manner.



On each occasion Rownicki sat down beside his victim when there were other empty seats available on the bus, put the jacket over his knees, masturbated and touched the women’s leg.



Each victim reported that Rownicki sat very close to them and they found it difficult to get out of their seat because he had them squashed in. They each told gardai they were in shock and frightened by the incidents.



On one occasion a male passenger sitting behind one of the women noticed what was going on. He asked Rownicki what he was doing before he said “I know what you are up to. Leave her alone.”



The passenger confronted Rownicki who immediately jumped up and got off at the next stop.



Gda McCormack said when Rownicki was interviewed in May 2011 he initially denied any wrong doing but then claimed he touched the girls accidentally.



He later accepted he had touched them out of amusement and for sexual release and said he was thinking of his ex-girlfriends at the time.



Six victim impact reports were handed into the court but were not read out.



Mr Rea said Rownicki regrets deeply what he did and apologises for his behaviour which left a large number of women upset and disturbed at the hands of him.



He said his wife is in poor health and has “little English”.



Judge Martin Nolan accepted that Rownicki deeply regretted the offences but said “he went a few steps too far, one or two such offences may be forgivable but six is too much.”



“What he did was deeply inappropriate and has affected the peace of mind these women,” the judge said.



“To accost and sexually assault these ladies who were doing nothing but trying to get home,” Judge Nolan said. “He gave into temptation and he must go to prison.”





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