Sunday 25 February 2018

Man to be sentenced later for sexual assault of his care worker

Conor Gallagher and Jessica Magee

A doctor has warned a court that a young man with psychological difficulties who sexually assaulted a care-worker could be exploited if he is sent to jail.

The court heard that the 24-year-old pinned the woman onto a couch and assaulted her before she managed to free herself and call for help.

The man, who has a moderate learning disability and schizophrenic tendencies, was later seen outside the home wielding two knives.

He had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexual assault in the home on February 7, 2011 and was convicted following a trial.

Dr Patrick Randall, clinical forensic psychologist told yesterday’s sentencing hearing that the man is at a high risk of re-offending and would benefit from a specialist residential placement.

He warned against a custodial sentence, saying the accused is at risk of being exploited in prison and that punishment is not going to have any impact on his inability to control his own behaviour.

“He needs a very high level of staff supervision and engagement. It is the HSE's responsibility to provide for that,” said Dr Randall.

The care worker told prosecuting counsel Tara Burns BL that she had just come on duty and was alone in the house when the accused asked her to come in to the living room to look at something on television.

He showed her that ‘Judge Judy’ was on TV and then pulled her onto the couch and straddled her.

She said the man said “I'm going to slap you, I'm going to smack you hard,” and began to slap her right thigh, the slaps becoming progressively harder and harder.

She said the man was in an aroused state and said “Take off your effing bra,” and tried unsuccessfully to take it off himself. He had his hand down her leggings and up her top and was “feeling around.”

The woman told the jury that she was calmly telling him to stop and trying to push him off her, eventually managing to get free, grab the phone and run into the back garden.

The accused followed her and was staring out the window as she phoned her colleagues who arrived soon after and escorted her outside.

Garda Gemma Macken said the man was later seen outside the house holding two knives and making slashing motions with his wrist.

The court heard a victim impact statement in which the care-worker said she was traumatised by the incident and is still fearful, nervous and paranoid in case the accused approaches her.

She said it was never her intention to get the accused locked up and that she hopes he gets the care he needs.

Brian Gageby BL, defending, said his client has “slipped through the net” of care services as he is no longer welcome back at the care home.

He said the accused is now back living with his parents, who have also intellectual difficulties and are incapable of providing a suitable environment for him.

Judge Carmel Stewart has asked a disability manager from the HSE to come to court next week and advise what care options are available for the accused.

She adjourned the case until next Tuesday and remanded the accused in custody.

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