A middle-aged man who claimed he was only having banter with four 15-year-old girls on the back of a bus was found guilty of harassing the schoolgirls and sexually assaulting one of them.
The accused man, Anthony Quigley, aged 45, of 14 Roches Heights, Mitchelstown, was found guilty of charges including one of sexual assault and four of harassment on December 4 last year. He was also found guilty of engaging in threatening words or behaviour and common assault on one of the teenagers.
The jury found Quigley guilty of all seven counts against him by unanimous verdicts.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan remanded him in custody for sentencing on June 28.
Quigley faces sentencing at the same court for another crime on the same date.
A victim impact statement is to be prepared for the teenager who was sexually assaulted.
This teenager testified during the trial that she was sitting on four of the five seats at the back of the bus with three friends and that the accused man came down and sat on the fifth seat.
“He was telling racist jokes – about Chinese or people with dots on their foreheads. He asked us our names. We just said our first names. He shook our hands. I immediately locked in to stranger danger.
“I started coughing. He started rubbing my back and patting my shoulder. I was terrified. He patted my left thigh a few times – my upper thigh. He was pushing close to me and breathing on me. I was terrified. He was invading my privacy. He smelled awful. He asked if we liked his aftershave. He asked if we had Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook,” she said.
Another witness described the defendant’s jokes as racist and sexist. She said there was reference to winning the lottery and that he said if he did he would take them on holidays and would love to stay in a room with her.
She said she felt uncomfortable and he asked about boyfriends. “He kept saying I was hot and fair sexy. I was scared to get up. He kept saying inappropriate stuff about how hot I was. He was touching (friend’s name) on the thigh."
She also said that he caught her hand and squeezed it more than if one was shaking hands. This was the basis of the common assault charge.
Quigley said in his defence that all he did was engage in banter and asked, “If a fella is being brought to court for this what is the world coming to?” Questioned by Detective Garda Denis Ryan, Quigley said, “That is not my style of thing. You are saying inappropriate, I am saying banter.”
When prosecution barrister Imelda Kelly said the four girls were consistent in their evidence, including an allegation that Quigley said one girl’s mother was a prostitute, he denied the claims and said, “They were coached. Nothing sexual was told. Not even a curse was said.”
Ms Kelly said, “You said you would like to take the girls on holiday and share a hotel room with them?” He replied, “I said I would take them away to Disneyland. I did not say anything about a room.”