Older man sexually assaulted teen boy in sauna

Simon Brouder

A teenage boy who was sexually assaulted by a stranger in a sauna at Tralee Aquadome said he wanted to speak out about the attack to protect others.

At Tralee Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday a man - who cannot be named for legal reasons - appeared for sentencing in relation to the sex attack that took place in February 2018.

The man had previously pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual assault against the boy. All four counts relate to the same incident.

The court heard that the victim - who was in his mid teens - was at the Aquadome with a friend when he entered a steam room at the popular family attraction. In the steam room he met an older man, whom he did not know, who stared at him and asked him "Do you like it hot?".

The staring continued until the victim's friend entered the steam room. When the boy later went to the sauna the man followed him and sat down next to him. The man then started rubbing the victim's leg and started feeling the boy's private parts through his togs.

The attacker pulled down the boy's togs and then pulled down his own before taking the boy's hand placing it on the man's penis and moving it up and down.

"I completely froze. I was so scared I couldn't move," the boy later told Gardaí.

A number of times during the attack the man went to the sauna window to check  that no one was coming before returning to attack the boy again.

At one point he asked the boy "Do you like it?". As he left the  sauna the man asked the boy if he'd be there again tomorrow. The boy left the sauna and told his friend what had happened.

They immediately told staff at reception what had taken place and the boy's family and gardaí were alerted. The attacker was identified and arrested.

He initially denied all allegations against him but subsequently pleaded guilty to the charges.

In a victim impact statement, which was read to the court by the boy's mother, the victim said he "felt ashamed" and had "dark feelings" after the attack but that he wanted to speak out to protect others.

Judge Tom O'Donnell praised the victim for his bravery and said he should be commended for his desire to save others from harm. The Judge also praised the Aquadome's staff for their professional handling of the incident and the victim.   

The man will be sentenced on December 4.