58-year-old father of six pleads guilty to sexual assault of girl (16) on train

Defendant remanded on continuing bail

Stock image.

Drogheda Independent

A 58-year-old man who kissed another female passenger on a train has pleaded guilty to sexual assault and assault charges.

During an in-camera hearing to protect the identity of the 16-year-old victim, Roman Mandache, Isaac Hostel, Frenchman’s Lane, Amiens Street, Dublin 1, admitted the two offences which occurred at a location on the rail line between Gormanston and Laytown on 20 October 2022.

Evidence was given that the incident occurred on a northbound train when the defendant, a father of six children, kissed the teenager’s hand, forehead and cheek and attempted to hug her. He also rubbed her face.

He called the girl ‘princess’ and said, ‘I love you’.

Court presenter Sgt John O’Hehir added that CCTV viewed by gardaí supported the injured party’s complaint.

A Victim Impact Statement was available.

There were 31 previous convictions, though none for anything of this nature.

Cross-examined by solicitor Barry Callan, the sergeant agreed that Mr Mandache, when arrested, made a full admission during interview. He was co-operative and identified himself on the CCTV.

Mr Callan submitted that on the day, his client was travelling to view a property for rent in Dundalk. He met a friend in Balbriggan who gave him money which he spent on wine which he consumed on the train. He has had a difficulty with alcohol for nine years.

The defendant was divorced and by and large estranged from his six children. He hadn’t seen his youngest girl in several years and when he spotted the victim, he conflated her with his own daughter.

What occurred was highly inappropriate. It was of an affectionate nature more than sexual, the solicitor continued.

His client had instructed to enter guilty pleas. There was no getting away from the seriousness of it.

Mr Callan said there was no touching of the girl’s chest or genitals. It was not at the most serious end of the scale.

Judge Brennan remarked the injured party didn’t know that there was no sexual intent.

Mr Callan added Mr Mandache, who had the assistance of an interpreter in court, has been in Ireland since 2004, and separated for six years. He was under the protection of homeless services in Dublin.

The court was asked to refer the case to the Probation Service. There were other public order matters before the Dublin courts which had been referred to the Probation Service there, the accused had instructed.

Judge Brennan said there was no gainsaying the serious nature of this. It was a most frightening situation for the victim who continued to suffer ongoing affects.

She was not to know this was not sexually motivated, though it was not clear-cut what the motivation was, the judge said.

It was submitted it was motivated by memories of the defendant’s daughter.

Judge Brennan continued it was good that the injured party had improved somewhat. That was important.

The court was minded to impose a suspended sentence. The predominant viewpoint was that this was not sexually motivated.

When it was pointed out that Mr Mandache had not been referred to the Probation Service in Dublin, Judge Brennan said he was still satisfied that he should engage and work closely with them.

The defendant was remanded on continuing bail to 18 December for a probation report and finalisation.