A young man who “opportunistically” raped a university student friend after creeping into her bed in the middle of the night has been jailed for four and a half years.
The now 23-year-old Clare man was found guilty by a jury of one count of raping the young woman at an address in Dublin on May 23rd, 2017 following a Central Criminal Court trial last July. He has no previous convictions.
The woman, now aged 25, told the court that after the attack she lost many university friends, with a lot of people saying she was lying. She said many of her male friends urged her not to go to gardaí telling her that she was “over-reacting”.
The court heard the man now accepts the guilty verdict and a letter of apology was handed up to court.
The court heard the woman's two male friends, including the defendant, spent the night in her apartment after watching a movie and she and one of the men engaged in consensual sexual activity in her bedroom. In the middle of the night, the defendant slipped into the woman's bed while the first man was in the bathroom.
He then forced himself on the woman, raping her as she struggled and repeatedly asked him to stop. The woman initially thought it was the man she had been in bed with earlier and only realised the defendant had raped her when she followed him out to the sitting room.
In her victim impact statement, which was read out in court by Sergeant Kevin Rooney, the woman said at the time of the attack, she was studying her dream course in her chosen university and was a “outgoing, courageous and enthusiastic” 19-year-old.
“Since then I've discovered the world is a dark place for naive girls who don't know better,” she said.
Emotional and physical agony
The woman outlined the emotional and physical “agony” she suffered in the wake of the attack and how she struggled with anxiety, depression and nightmares. She described how she lost many university friends, with a lot of people saying she was lying and others telling her she was “over-reacting”.
Sentencing the man on Tuesday, Mr Justice Paul McDermott said it was a “dreadful breach of trust” by a man who was invited into the woman's home as a friend and who then “opportunistically” assaulted her.
“He committed this offence because he could, taking advantage of the fact the other man left the room,” Mr Justice McDermott said. The judge noted the man “assaulted her sense of personal security” and “usurped her and her human right to make her own informed decisions”.
“It was an extremely selfish and opportunistic act,” the judge said, noting the harm caused to the victim as a result.
He took into account a number of mitigating factors including the fact the man now accepts the verdict of the jury and has acknowledged his guilt, his sincere remorse and his positive cooperation with the Probation Service.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.
In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.