A 55-year-old publican who sexually assaulted a 20-year-old employee in his office and then asked, “How was that for you?” later pretended that she had made an advance to him but that he spurned her approach.
The publican later admitted this was not the case and he confessed to the sexual assault. He faced sentencing for the crime at Cork District Court today.
It emerged during the sentencing that the injured party recorded apologies he made to her on two occasions. When gardaí questioned him initially and disclosed the recordings he said he was apologising for rejecting her approach to him. He later accepted this was not the case and he expressed deep remorse for his actions.
The publican is not named in this case as the victim would be identified from identifying him and the premises in County Cork where it occurred over two years ago.
Judge Olann Kelleher noted that the young woman who was 20 at the time had not alone been sexually assaulted in a significant breach of trust by her employer who was 55 at the time, but he said matters were made worse by the fact that she suffered ‘constructive dismissal’ as she did not feel she could continue to work at the pub where she enjoyed working and socialising.
Frank Buttimer, solicitor, said the accused had brought €10,000 compensation to court for the victim.
Judge Kelleher said it was not enough. He adjourned the case for a month so that this figure could be increased to €15,000 with sentencing to take place thereafter.
Sergeant Pat Lyons outlined the background to the case which arose out of a lunchtime incident on August 24, 2018.
Judge Olann Kelleher noted from the victim impact statement, which was not read out in court, that the injured party went to a shed at the back of the premises immediately afterwards and phoned her mother. She went home immediately when a bar manager at the premises said that is what she should do.
She was contacted by the manager later who asked her to return as the publican wanted to speak to her. She recorded what occurred at that meeting where the publican apologised without specifying what he had done.
He later apologised again in similar terms and again this was recorded.
When the gardaí approached him he denied sexual assault and said he had only apologised for rejecting her advances and hurting her feelings.
Mr Buttimer, solicitor, said the publican had since pleaded guilty to sexual assault, engaged fully with the probation service and fully appreciated the consequences for the injured party. He said on behalf of the defendant that there was genuine empathy for the victim and for his own part, a huge burden of guilt. The solicitor said the defendant was never in trouble in his life, would not be again and that his actions on that day had caused significant difficulties in his domestic circumstances.
Judge Kelleher said of the publican, “He was in a position of trust and he abused that trust… Her main complaint was that the accused changed his story and minimised his guilt although he has changed that completely since.” The accused man pleaded guilty to a charge of sexually assaulting her on August 24, 2018.