Sunday 16 June 2019

Suspended sentence for sex assault on sleeping woman after party

Mourneabbey man 'was horrified about what he did' and the lasting effects on his victim

A 22 year old North Corkman, who admitted sexually assaulting a young woman while she was sleeping at a friend's house after attending a birthday party, has been given a two year suspended sentence by a judge.

Michael Forde from Garrynagearagh, Mourneabbey pleaded to the single charge of sexually assaulting the young woman at the house party on January 13, 2018, having earlier been arraigned on the charge at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Det Garda Pat O'Connell told the court that the young woman had been attending a birthday party in a house in Mallow on the night in question and had become intoxicated, and began to get sick and was put to bed by her friends, who checked on her regularly during the night.

He said that the young woman was lying on her side in a bed in the house when Forde, who was also intoxicated, entered the room and removed the woman's jeans and panties before inserting his fingers into her vagina and sexually assaulting her.

The young woman was unaware of the assault but two of her friends entered the room and caught Forde sexually assaulting her and the young woman was woken up and brought to the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital Sexual Assault Unit, where she was examined by doctors.

The young woman later made a complaint to gardai and identified Forde as the man who sexually assaulted her. When Forde was arrested by gardai he immediately admitted the offence and expressed remorse for what he had done to the young woman, said Det Garda O'Connell.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin noted that Forde had engaged with the probation service since his last appearance on the charge and he appeared to show considerable empathy for his victim, not just in terms of the incident itself but in terms of the long term impact it might have on the young woman.

"He has engaged well with the probation service. He was very forthcoming and was horrified about what he did. He feels terrible. He spoke about the long term consequences of his actions on the victim and her need for counselling," he said.

Judge O Donnabhain also heard that Forde had no previous convictions and had not come to the attention of gardai since this incident, and, in the light of those factors and his guilty plea and his genuine remorse, he imposed a two year term but suspended it fully.