A MAN masturbated in front of a young woman travelling alone in the carriage of a train from Dublin to Cork despite the fact that she kept changing her seat and challenged him about his behaviour.
The young woman was so afraid of the 36-year-old man that she got off the train at an earlier stop to report the matter and get away from him.
When the matter was investigated it turned out that the culprit had numerous previous convictions including one for sexual assault, for which he was jailed. Tralee man, Maurice Roche, had seven for assault, five for assault causing harm and 62 for engaging in threatening behaviour.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of engaging in masturbation in a public place contrary to Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017.
Judge Olann Kelleher jailed him for eight months for the act.
“This was a form of sexual assault although he is not charged with that. He has a previous conviction for a sexual assault on a female. She should have felt safe on the train but she had to move on three occasions. She got off at a different station she was so concerned about her safety. It was a horrific experience for her. He kept following her,” Judge Kelleher said.
Frank Buttimer, solicitor, said, “My client accepts the contents of the victim impact statement.
“He is from Tralee, County Kerry. He wants to express his remorse for his conduct. He accepts he deeply offended the injured party. His conduct was simply deplorable on that day. When he was approached by gardaí he made a statement of admission.”
Mr Buttimer said Roche had an alcohol problem which he had made some effort to address but needed to do much more about this underlying issue.
Sergeant John Kelleher said, “On the evening of April 22 Maurice Roche boarded the Dublin to Cork train at Portlaoise. He sat in a seat across the aisle from the young woman who was travelling to Cork on her own. There was no other passenger in the carriage.
“Maurice Roche engaged in conversation with her and then asked if he could use her phone. She allowed him to do so. About 20 minutes after boarding the train he began to masturbate in full view of the woman.
“She moved seats away from him and approximately one minute later he moved to the seat across the aisle from her again.
“After a couple of minutes she observed him begin to masturbate again and she challenged him with regard to his behaviour but he proclaimed his innocence.
“About ten minutes later he again began to masturbate and she stood up, challenged him again with regard to his behaviour and said she would report him for it. At that stage he left the carriage.”
Roche had 280 previous convictions including one for sexual assault, 35 for theft, seven for assault, five for assault causing harm and 62 for engaging in threatening behaviour.