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Guilty plea Man who sexually assaulted women at Co Kildare music event gets suspended sentence

Raymond McGarry (38) pleaded guilty to a single count of sexually assaulting his victim while she attended a “Buskathon” in Emily Square, Athy


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A man who sexually assaulted a woman who was attending an open air music event in Athy, Co Kildare with her young children has been given an 18-month suspended jail sentence.

Raymond McGarry (38) pleaded guilty to a single count of sexually assaulting his victim while she attended a “Buskathon” in Emily Square, Athy, on the evening of February 9, 2018 with her children ranging in age from six to 17.

A sitting of Naas Circuit Criminal Court heard McGarry, a tyre fitter from Alpine Heights, Clondalkin, Co Dublin, was pestering the woman and her children as they were listening to a performance.

Garda Joseph McElhinney said at one stage McGarry attempted to kiss the woman on the cheek and as she pulled away he put his hand between her legs and touched her in her private area.

Garda McElhinney said McGarry became very agitated and abusive after gardaí were called to the scene.

He claimed the accused was heavily intoxicated and insisted that he had been “only messing and only having the craic”.

Garda McElhinney said he understood that McGarry, who had travelled to Athy to attend the Cuan Mhuire centre for treatment for his alcohol addiction, had consumed between eight and 12 drinks earlier that day.

He told the court that McGarry continued to deny the charge when he was questioned at Athy Garda station four months later.

The accused claimed he was leaning in to speak to his victim because of the loud music rather than trying to kiss her.

Garda McElhinney said McGarry threatened to sue the victim for slandering him and claimed her allegations were “totally, totally false.”

However, the court heard that the accused entered a guilty plea when he was arraigned last July.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she had to attend weekly counselling sessions for six months after the incident because she was “shook up”.

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The woman said she had become someone who was not easy to be around.

“I was usually easy going but now I’m easily angered,” she added.

The woman said it was “confusing and unfair” that she had to explain things about the incident to her children which she should not have to because of their young age.

However, she said the one positive outcome is that they would never let the same thing happen to them.

The woman said the incident had destroyed her “inside and out” and she doubted if she would ever have another relationship even though she was only 38.

Garda McElhinney said the victim had not wanted to accept the offer of €1,000 compensation made by McGarry in court.

The accused’s father, Francis McGarry, told the court his son was a different man when he had consumed alcohol.

However, Mr McGarry said his son had been staying off drink and he was a person who would stick to his actions once he had made his mind up on something, while he had also been caring for his mother for the past 14 months during the pandemic.

The court heard McGarry had lost his family and business through his problem with alcohol while he had also been the victim of a serious assault in May 2018 when he was stabbed 16 times.

Sentencing McGarry to 18 months in prison, Judge Patrick Quinn said the accused had committed a serious offence and noted he had nine previous convictions including some for assaults.

However, the judge acknowledged that McGarry was full of contrition, while also making efforts to follow treatment programmes for his alcohol addiction and had been sober since May 2018.

Judge Quinn said he would suspend the jail sentence for a period of three years on condition that McGarry placed himself under the supervision of the Probation Service and remained drug and alcohol free for the period.

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