Panto star (31) who sexually assaulted sleeping man at party is jailed for three years
Wicklow man Dan Horan told the court he hadn’t set out to do anything “sinister or evil” on the night
A marketing manager and panto performer who sexually assaulted a man who fell asleep at a house party has been jailed for three years.
Dan Horan (31), with an address at Slievecorragh, Hollywood, Co. Wicklow took to the stand in January to say he hadn’t set out to do anything “sinister or evil” on the night he sexually assaulted a man who had fallen asleep at a house party in Naas, Co. Kildare, in 2020.
He appeared again before Judge Mary O’Malley Costello at Naas Circuit Court on Wednesday where she sentenced him to four years and six months with 18 month suspended.
Horan, who worked as marketing manager for Mondello Park and has starred in a number of pantos, had initially denied carrying out the attack but admitted his guilt on the day his trial was due to get underway last year.
The victim, who was 26 when Horan sexually assaulted him, told the court that he was left “living in a nightmare and lost the joy for life” after the attack and criticised Horan for waiting two years to admit his guilt.
In his victim impact statement, the victim said it was impossible to summarise in words the devastating impact the sexual assault had on him.
He told how he was angry and bitter over what happened and explained how difficult it was having to tell family.
He described his feelings of “hopelessness, shame and embarrassment” of being a victim of sexual assault.
He also told how he had enjoyed life before Horan sexually assaulted him. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same.”
He detailed how he struggled to sleep, his studies were affected and he gained weight after turning to comfort eating and binge eating following the attack.
He also told how the attack also had a bad effect on his family, partner and friends.
He said the fact that Horan initially denied carrying out the attack caused him great anger.
“it proves you have little remorse.
“Why did you not have the common decency to admit what you did sooner?”
He said is now trying to move on with his life.
“I will not let what you did define me.”
At another hearing last month, prosecuting barrister Seoirse O Dúnlaing BL told Naas Circuit Court that the incident took place at a house party in Naas in July 2020.
Around a dozen people had been at the party including the victim and his girlfriend and Horan who had not known his victim before that night.
A number of people went to sleep and Horan and his victim were among the last still awake before the victim passed out on a bed in the house.
Around 6am, the victim’s girlfriend went looking for him and when she went into a room, she saw her boyfriend asleep with his jeans and underwear pulled down and Horan who was fully clothed was rubbing the victim’s penis.
She screamed and Horan jumped up and ran out of the room.
The victim’s girlfriend, who was upset and crying, shook him to wake him up and gave him his clothes.
The victim was still in a daze when he woke up but became extremely upset when he came through and realised what had happened.
Other people who had been at the party and woke up after hearing the commotion tried to calm him down in the kitchen of the house.
At one stage Horan had gone back up to a room in the house and locked the door before falling asleep. He subsequently left the house.
The victim went to gardai and reported what had happened. The court heard his clothes were forensically examined and Horan’s DNA was found in saliva in his underwear.
The morning after the incident the victim’s girlfriend sent Horan a Whatsapp accusing him of sexually assaulting her boyfriend.
Horan messaged back saying: “I don’t know what happened. I was very drunk and stoned. Can you send me his number? I’ll apologise.”
Horan was later arrested and denied carrying out the sexual assault for two years but he eventually admitted his guilt on the day the trial got underway last year.
Horan’s barrister Maurice Coffey told a previous court hearing that his client didn’t realise the effect that delaying his guilty plea had on his victim until hearing the victim impact statement.
“He was extraordinarily afraid of the process, genuinely afraid of the process and still is.”
He said Horan was frightened in the aftermath of what happened but subsequently realised what he did was wrong.
“He is ashamed of what he done and deeply regrets what he done.”
He said his client didn’t set out that night to carry out a sexual assault and added that while it was not an excuse, he had drank a lot of alcohol.
He said it was very clear the victim played no role in what happened and couldn’t have consented to what happened to him.
Horan took the stand at his sentencing hearing to directly apologise to his victim after hearing his victim impact statement.
He said he had not realised how much distress he caused by delaying his guilty plea until the day of the trial last July.
"I wholeheartedly apologise for that and am completely empathetic.”
He said that in the aftermath of the sex attack he wrongly believed what he did was consensual but after going to counselling and getting an insight into what happened he now realised that was not the case.
He said he hadn’t set out to do anything “sinister or evil” that night but he takes full responsibility for what he did.
“I wholeheartedly apologise for the pain I caused to you and your family.”
He said alcohol played a part in his actions and he has since stopped drinking.
“It was an alcohol fuelled party that went on for hours. Since then I made changes.”
He said he wanted to apologise to everyone he caused distress including the victim, his partner and family.
Mr Coffey said his client has an honours degree in marketing and works as a marking manager.
He said he was of erstwhile good character and had no other convictions.
He added that lives in his family home and is effectively a carer for his mother, who has ill health, as his father travels for work during the week.
He said Horan has not drank alcohol or taken drugs for the past year. Horan also offered €15,000 as a token of his remorse.