A man has been convicted of raping and sexually assaulting a teenage girl.
The 41-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape, sexual assault and false imprisonment in a Dublin suburb on August 21st, 2017.
The now 19-year-old complainant, who gave evidence via video link, told the trial that she sneaked out of her home that night after she had been grounded by her mother. She said she was alone in her local town when the accused approached her.
She gave evidence that the man raped her after she went to his home.
On day nine of the trial following three hours and 29 minutes of deliberations, the jury returned with unanimous verdicts of guilty on the charges of rape and sexual assault. They acquitted the man of the charge of false imprisonment.
Mr Justice Paul McDermott thanked the jury for their service and remanded the man in custody until his sentence date of November 29th, 2021. He ordered the preparation of a victim impact statement and a probation report.
The now 19-year-old, who gave evidence via video link, told Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, that she when the accused approached her on the night of August 21st, he asked her did she need any money and later offered for her to stay at his home where he said she would be safe.
“He said he didn’t want me to stay out on the street, he wanted to make sure I was okay. He said he would sleep on the couch and I could take his room,” the teenager told the jury.
“It was freezing cold and I just wanted to get warm, so I gave in and said ‘yeah’,” the complainant continued before she described walking back to an apartment with the man.
The teenager said the man showed her a bedroom where she lay on top of the covers, fully clothed and fell asleep. She said the next thing she remembered was feeling heavy breathing.
“I felt something on top of me. I opened my eyes and he was just there on top of me,” the teenager said. She said the man was touching her breasts and she told him to stop. She tried to push him off her, but he did not stop.
“I was trying to stop it, but he was stronger, I couldn’t,” the teenager replied. She said the man raped her.
The teenager told the jury that after she left the apartment, she made her way to a nearby train station where she met a friend who told her that her family were looking for her and persuaded her to go a Garda station. The gardaí called her mother who came to pick her up.
Her older brother told the court his sister later told him back at the family home that she had stayed at “in some old man’s house” and that she had been raped.
He said his sister directed him to the house. His younger brother and two friends also came, as well as the complainant and his then girlfriend.
Her brother said he knocked on the door and a man answered. He asked the man if a girl had been there and when the man replied yes, he said he screamed at the man that was his sister.
The complainant's two brothers gave evidence that they hit the accused man before leaving the house and meeting up with the girls.
The following November, the victim said she spoke to a teacher about it. She said she could not get the words out, so she wrote down that she had been raped. Her parents and gardaí were alerted.
When asked by Mr McGrath why she told her teacher at that point, the teenager replied: “If I had kept it any longer, I’d be in the grave”.