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not guilty Convicted sex pest John Ring acquitted of assaulting woman he met at library

He was previously convicted of attacking a teenage shop assistant in 2014.

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John Ring complained about his photo being taken.

John Ring complained about his photo being taken.

John Ring complained about his photo being taken.

A convicted sex pest has been acquitted of sexually assaulting a woman in her 70s who he met at a library.

John Ring (52), brother of former government minister Michael Ring TD, was acquitted on two counts of sexual assault after a four-day jury trial in Sligo.

The allegation arose when he gave the woman a massage at her home after meeting her in a library earlier the same day.

By the time the woman got home she had three or four missed calls from Ring and agreed to meet at a nearby hotel for coffee, where she agreed to allow him back to her house, the court heard.

The woman later complained to gardaí that Ring had allegedly rubbed against her body and rubbed his hand against her.

It is not the first time Ring has come before the courts.

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Ring at the hearing.

Ring at the hearing.

Ring at the hearing.

He was previously convicted of attacking a teenage shop assistant in 2014.

Ring can be named after the Sunday World successfully had a court order that protected his identity lifted.

Judge Michael Comerford agreed to lift restrictions imposed during Ring’s trial at Sligo Circuit Court on July 5. After the hearing, an irate Ring told our reporter in court: “You are only ruining lives.”

At a previous case in Galway Circuit Court, it was heard he harassed a transition year student in 2014, leaving her wary of strangers, nervous and unable to walk down the road by herself.

He received a suspended four-year prison sentence in 2018 for that offence.

During Ring’s latest trial, Judge ­Comerford banned the media from ­naming him, partly due to concerns that his past conviction for sexual assault would derail the trial.

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However, following an application by the Sunday World, Judge Comerford overturned the ban, saying the decision was made on an “ad-hoc” basis on the day, after Ring complained of being photographed while entering the courthouse.

Following arguments by counsel for the Sunday World, Keith O’Grady BL, Judge Comerford said the order banning the naming of Ring after the trial had ended “as a matter of law was wrong”.

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Ring at the hearing.

Ring at the hearing.

Ring at the hearing.

In her evidence, the pensioner said that during a massage she told him three or four times that she wanted to get up and he said ‘one more minute’.

“It’s not what I wanted, I didn’t want the massage in the first place and I didn’t want him in the house either,” she said.

“This guy was in my house, I didn’t want him there and I certainly didn’t want him on top of me. I agreed to it only because he pressured me into it. It was pressure all the time,” the woman told the court.

Ring said he couldn’t go home because of the bad weather and the woman allowed him to stay. Later they had sex.

The next morning she said he got back into her bed fully clothed and pressed up against her body and was looking for sex, but she got up.

In a Garda interview, heard during the trial, he said that “it was only a bit of fun”, and that he did not contact the ­woman again, once he left her house, because she was a “lunatic”.

He said he believed the woman knew she would not see him again and felt hurt.

Ring told gardaí the woman said there was an age gap and that he was too ­“hyper” but told him he was to phone her on Saturday.

A jury found him not guilty of sexual assault after deliberating for an hour and 35 minutes.

During a previous trial in Galway Circuit Court, it was heard how Ring sexually harassed a 17-year-old girl working on her own at a rural shop. After asking if she had a boyfriend and if she had a sore back and telling her he was a physiotherapist, he began massaging the teenager’s neck.

The court heard Ring pushed his hands up against her, pulled down her blouse and put his knee against her legs trying to pry them open, and told her to open her legs.

He pressed his groin against her and she was aware that he was aroused, the court heard.

“I could not break his grip,” the girl told gardaí, adding: “I told him to stop but he would not.”

Ring only stopped when a customer walked in. He told his victim: “Well you were not shy."

And as the schoolgirl walked home for lunch she became aware of Ring following her in his van. He then called her over and handed her his number on a piece of paper, telling her to give him a call.

That evening, when Ring returned to the shop, he winked at her and stuck out his tongue. When a colleague confronted him he denied he had said anything to the girl and left. The owner of the shop then contacted the gardaí.

The court heard that since then the girl was nervous, wary around strangers, especially men, and could not walk down her road alone for quite a while.

Ring was described in court as a self-employed bread man. The court heard his marriage had broken down and that his family won’t speak to him at all as a result of his behaviour.

A psychiatric report showed Ring came from a “dysfunctional background” and had been “quite clearly sexualised from a very young age”, according to his defence lawyer .

Judge Rory McCabe described it as a “very disturbing and sinister incident."

He said the series of incidents were “frightening, deliberate, sustained, unsolicited and uninvited."

At a sentence hearing in March 2018 Judge McCabe he imposed a four-year sentence, suspended for five years after hearing Ring had engaged with the probation services.

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