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Man ‘heavily involved’ in church pleads guilty to sexual assault

A RECENTLY married man described as “heavily involved” with a Christian church has pleaded guilty to sexual assault and has been ordered to pay €1,000 to the court discretionary fund.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared before Ennis District Court this week charged with sexual assault on dates unknown between September 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013.

The injured party had been staying in an apartment in West Clare and as part of the arrangement, he shared a double bed with the accused.

The court was told in evidence that one morning, the injured party woke to discover the accused’s hand on his penis. He became alarmed and jumped out of bed and made a complaint of sexual assault to the gardaí.

The accused told gardaí that his “emotions overcame him” and that this was the first time something like this had happened.

Solicitor for the accused Will Cahir outlined that his client had no previous convictions, made full admissions to the gardaí and was co-operative.

He stated that his client was “heavily involved” with a Christian church and that the church community were aware of the court case. The man has received counselling from the church and has made an unreserved apology.

“He fully appreciates the seriousness of this,” said Mr Cahir.

A letter from the man’s church was submitted to the court outlining that he had served “diligently” and asking for leniency.

“He realises his mistake and he has assured never to do this again. He has turned his life around. This was totally out of character and can only be characterised as a one-off,” the letter stated.
The court was told that the man had just recently got married.

Inspector Tom Kennedy stated that the victim declined to make an impact statement, saying, “He is quite happy to see the court take its course”.

Judge Patrick Durcan noted the co-operation of the accused, what was said on his behalf and that there were no previous convictions.

He ordered that if the accused pay €1,000 to the court discretionary fund before July 19 that the matter would be struck out.

Jessica Quinn

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