'pings' | 

Creepy guitar teacher jailed for subjecting teen girl to 'sexualised harassment'

Armagh man Gary Keenan (27) still can't figure out or accept 'how the victim felt harassed'

Gary Keenan

Paul Higgins

This is the guitar teacher and bar manager who has been jailed after he subjected a teenage girl to “sexualised harassment”.

Newry Crown Court heard that despite the jury’s damning convictions on creep Gary Keenan, the 27-year-old still can’t figure out or accept “how the victim felt harassed”.

During the trial earlier this year, she gave evidence that between New Year’s Eve 2018 and New Year’s Day 2019, there had been constant “pings” to her mobile phone as Keenan asked her over and over to come to the bedroom as he “wanted to show her something”.

Although Keenan, from St John’s Park in Cullyhanna, south Armagh, was convicted of two counts of harassment, the jury acquitted him of inciting sexual activity and sexual assault.

Imposing a 13-month jail sentence, half to be spent behind bars and half under supervised licence conditions, Judge Gordon Kerr QC told Keenan his teenage victim has suffered “negative repercussions” because of him and his behaviour.

The judge revealed that according to a victim impact report, the constant harassment had impacted her home life, school work and exams, and that she had even had to give up her job as she struggled to cope.

Turning back to the incidents themselves, the judge recounted that when the girl went to the bedroom on New Year’s Eve, Keenan was sitting on the bed putting on his pyjama trousers, saying he “wanted to show her something and continued to try and encourage her to come into the room”.

The second incident came five months later in May when the teenager’s phone began constantly pinging again, pleading with her to “come in, come in”.

Recalling the victim’s testimony to the jury, Judge Kerr quoted: “He started texting me on Snapchat and kept telling me to come in.

“I opened it once and it went again and again. I then stopped opening it and then I put my music on full blast and went to sleep and I woke up and saved it. Every time he did something he has just got up the next day and acted like nothing had happened.”

The judge told Keenan his course of harassment was clearly in a “sexualised context” which was an aggravating factor, and that she was “distressed and frightened by his behaviour”.

“He ignored her refusals and distress by persisting to text her to come into her room,” said Judge Kerr, adding that he could find no mitigating features.

The judge said the sexualised context elevated the case to “make it of the most serious type”.

Keenan was also handed a five-year restraining order.

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