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Garda rookie quizzed about city sex assault

A GARDA probationer has been suspended from the force after it was alleged he assaulted a woman.

The alleged incident is now being investigated by the Garda Ombudsman Commission.

The probationer -- a garda who is not yet a fully fledged member of the force -- was arrested by officers from Galway after they received a complaint from two students that they had been pursued by a young man, who got out of a car, near the local university.

Gardai were quickly on the scene and detained the suspect shortly afterwards. He was held for questioning under the Public Order Act.

The two girls later made detailed statements to gardai in which they said one of them had been indecently assaulted by the man.

The incident took place on Tuesday week and the probationer, who was based elsewhere, was suspended from the force by Commissioner Fachtna Murphy after inquiries got under way.


The garda authorities referred the incident for investigation later that night to the Garda Ombudsman Commission.

A spokesman for the commission confirmed last night that they had received a referral of the complaint and had commenced an investigation.

A team of investigators from the commission has travelled to Galway and is working closely with the garda authorities.

Gardai said last night there was no evidence to link the Galway incident to a spate of five sexual assaults in Athlone in 2007 and 2008 and although all aspects of the incident were being fully explored they did not think there was a connection.

The ombudsman commission said its personnel were investigating the incident referred to them and, like all investigations, they would follow where ever the evidence led.