Guilty plea | 

Kilkenny man who sexually assaulted sleeping woman is jailed for 18 months

The victim woke up to find Kevin Cradden (33) in her bed, kissing her and with his hand down her underwear

Kevin Cradden

Jessica Magee

A man who sexually assaulted a sleeping woman and later left the house naked from the waist down has been jailed for 18 months.

Kevin Cradden (33) of John’s Gate Apartments, Castlecomer Road, Kilkenny, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault at a house in Dublin on May 31, 2021. The case had been adjourned last December after evidence was heard to allow for the preparation of a probation report to assess whether Cradden poses a risk to society.

Garda Daniel Hanlon told Kieran Kelly BL, prosecuting at that hearing last December that Cradden attended a barbeque at the house and a lot of alcohol was consumed.

The court heard the injured party was a tenant at the house and that her ex-boyfriend, realising she had had a bit to drink, brought her to her bedroom and ensured she was tucked up in bed.

The woman later told gardaí that she woke up in the middle of the night and found someone in her bed, kissing her and with his hand down her underwear touching her vagina.

She said she thought it was her ex, but realised quickly that it was a different person and said, “Kevin?” to which the accused replied, “yes”.

The woman got up straight away and said she was very confused and not sure what was going on.

She met her housemate outside the door who was aware and concerned that Cradden had gone into the bedroom, the court heard.

The victim’s housemate then asked Cradden repeatedly to leave the house, and he eventually did so naked from the waist down.

The housemate then called Cradden back so he could get dressed.

Garda Hanlon said there was “absolutely no way” that the victim had led Cradden on or encouraged him in any way.

Cradden has no previous convictions and has not come to garda attention since this assault.

The woman wrote a victim impact statement which was read in silence by Judge Orla Crowe.

Today Judge Crowe said the woman had indicated in her victim impact statement that the offence had taken away “her sense of self-worth”. “She was distressed and had trust issues with everyone afterward,” Judge Crowe continued.

The judge said the offence was “a considerable violation of her home, her personal space and her body”.

She accepted evidence that Cradden has no previous convictions and has not come to garda attention since and that he cannot explain what had happened that night.

Judge Crowe said the offence warranted a headline sentence of four years before she reduced the prison sentence to three years in prison having taken into account the mitigating factors.

The judge suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions including that he engage with the Probation Service for two years upon his release from prison.

Judge Crowe said Cradden must also “abstain from alcohol”. She said it was clear that Cradden had issues when he is “under the influence of alcohol”.

Karl Moran BL, defending, said Cradden was “incredibly remorseful” and has no memory of the incident.

Mr Moran said his client had drunk six cans of Coors, that his friend gave him a further six cans, and that he also drank a cocktail and commented on how strong it was, saying he had double vision.

The court heard Cradden’s friend gave a statement to gardaí saying she asked him to leave the house two or three times, but he kept falling asleep.

“He was dumb drunk,” she told gardaí, describing how Cradden had left the house not realising he was unclothed.

“We called him back to the house because he was naked from the waist down and we didn’t want him flashing anybody,” she said.

Cradden’s friend said he then asked a number of times if he could stay on the couch and did not know what had been alleged against him.

Cradden wrote to his friend the following day on Facebook saying, “Hey how are you, what happened last night, did I leave my phone at your house, I don’t remember much.”

When his friend told him about the allegations, he sent a message saying, “I’m so sorry if I caused any harm, I’ve no recollection of the night or of coming back here,” the court heard.

Gda Hanlon accepted that the offence was completely out-of-character for Cradden, who has a strong work history and has not drunk alcohol since the night in question.

Letters from Cradden’s GP, mother, brother and sisters were presented to the court, with his family describing him as a loving, caring family member who had come home from abroad to care for his terminally-ill father.

Mr Moran said Cradden would be “eternally regretful, remorseful and apologetic” for the pain, anguish and trauma he has caused the injured party.

Cradden has brought shame and ignominy on himself, Mr Moran said, and his mental health has suffered significantly.

The court heard that Cradden had a series of jobs with software companies but gave up his job due to the weight of this case and has had temporary employment since.

Mr Moran said Cradden has actively engaged with counselling and had brought a sum of money to court as an expression of his remorse.

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