A County Cork publican paid €15,000 compensation to a 20-year-old he sexually assaulted when she was working in his bar. He also received a nine-month suspended jail term today.
He cannot be named as it could lead to identification of the victim.
The victim spoke in her impact report of how important it was for her to be believed by the gardaí when she made her complaint.
The publican had pretended that she was the one who had made an advance to him, but that he spurned her approach. The 55-year-old later admitted this was not the case and he confessed to the sexual assault.
When he brought €10,000 compensation to court for the victim last month, Judge Olann Kelleher said it was not enough. He told him to return today with a total of €15,000 for the young woman, which he did.
The injured party recorded apologies he made to her on two occasions.
When gardaí questioned him initially and disclosed the recordings, the publican 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.
Judge Olann Kelleher noted that the young woman, who was 20 at the time, had not only been sexually assaulted in a significant breach of trust by her employer, who was 55 at the time. The judge 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 had enjoyed working and socialising.
Solicitor Frank Buttimer said the accused had brought €10,000 compensation to court for the victim.
However, 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.
“The accused was with the injured party in the office of the licensed premises. He pulled the injured party on to his lap, placed his hands on her vagina over her clothes and he put his head down on her breasts and pretended to bite the injured party and asked, ‘How was that for you?’” Sgt Lyons said.
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 later contacted by the manager, 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.
Mr Buttimer said the publican had genuine empathy for the victim, adding that he bore a huge burden of guilt and had pleaded guilty to the sexual assault.
The solicitor said the defendant had never been in trouble in his life, and would not be again.
Judge Kelleher said of the publican: “He was in a position of trust and he abused that trust.”