*The case was heard at Ennis District Court. 

A MIDDLE aged father who described himself in court as the ‘responsible adult’ at a teenagers’ house party sexual assaulted a female friend of his son’s on the night.

At Ennis District Court, Judge Alec Gabbett found that the ‘facts proven’ in the sex assault prosecution against the 45-year old Co Clare man at his home on January 8th 2022.

Judge Gabbett said that the female – a young adult – who made the complaint of sexual assault was “a very credible witness” in court.

In evidence, the young woman at the time was friendly with the man’s son and was attending her friend’s family home for a drinks party with friends.

In evidence, the young woman said that at she was coming back into a room at the property sometime after midnight her friend’s father “caught me off-guard and spoke inappropriately to me”.

She said that the man told her “I was looking at you all night. I couldn’t get me eyes off you”.

She said that the man then pushed “his body against my body and pushed me against the sink and we were face to face, really close, and then he was saying that if he didn’t have a wife and kids ‘would I get with him'”.

She said that she then said “No. Stop” and the man then put his hands on her backside and grabbed her by the waist so that she couldn’t move “and then he asked me how many people had I slept with and then he started to shift me and by that I mean he put his tongue into my mouth”.

She said. “I tried to push him off me and said ‘stop’ and he said that “no be quiet”,”.

She said, “I eventually pushed him off me and he said ‘you are friends with my son, that is what makes it weird’. I didn’t say anything to him. I was still in shock”.

In evidence when asked about the young woman’s allegations, the accused said “never happened”.

In the witness box, the man said that he was the “responsible adult” on the night and was not drunk.

In evidence, the complainant said that she called her manager at work the next morning “and I told her I wouldn’t be coming into work today and she asked why and I got emotional saying that I was sexually assaulted”.

In evidence, the manager told the court that she have taken a lot of phone calls over the years “but never a phone call like that”.

The manager said that she was concerned for her co-worker and told the court that the young woman’s “voice was shaking and she found it hard to get the words out”.

The complainant said that a number of days after the sexual assault, the man approached her outside her workplace and she recorded the conversation with her smart phone that was in her pocket.

She said that she recorded the conversation “as I was scared that he would do or say something and I gave the recording to the Gardaí”.

She said that the man “asked me if I told anyone and said that we should plan it again”.

However, in evidence, the man denied saying that. A muffled recording of the exchange was played to the court.

After finding the facts proven in the case, Judge Gabbett told the young woman that she is now entitled to provide a victim impact statement for the sentencing hearing.

The court was told that the perpetrator is a working man and has no previous convictions.

Judge Gabbett said that he was mindful of the “very serious consequences’ for the man and remarked that it is likely that he will be convicted of sexual assault.

Judge Gabbett said that the man is entitled to a Probation Report and adjourned the case to July.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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