File photo: Naas courthouse
A man has pleaded guilty to engaging in inappropriate sexual behaviour in Newbridge in April 2017.
At Naas District Court on April 18, Wayne McDonagh (24), with an address at Church Hill, Tullamore, Co Offaly, appeared on a charge which involved masturbating in front of and annoying a 21- year-old girl in the early hours of April 26.
Garda Sgt Jim Kelly said that there was a report from “a very distressed young woman”. She had just left a premises around 10.10pm on the evening when the defendant drove along beside her as she was on the path.
He was masturbating in front of her. Judge Desmond Zaidan asked how she knew he was masturbating.
Sgt Kelly said the girl could see the defendant.
There were other people walking on the path at the time and Mr McDonagh followed her, said Sgt Kelly.
Sgt Kelly said the defendant and the girl were not known to each other.
The van was located and Mr McDonagh was taken to the Garda station.
The girl went to get a taxi and the van followed her again.
Sgt Kelly said the girl was “very upset... shocked and in fear” since the incident. She was embarrassed by the incident.
The charge against Mr McDonagh was brought under Section 45 (2)(c) of the Criminal Law Sexual Offences Act 2017.
Sgt Kelly said this present case was one of the first to be brought to court under the new legislation which was introduced in 2017.
The incident took place very soon after the introduction of the new Act. The penalty under the Act is a €1,000 fine and/or a six month jail sentence.
Sgt Kelly said the woman was “afraid to wear certain clothing since the incident.”
Tim Kennelly, solicitor, representing Mr McDonagh, said his client had attempted suicide and was abusing drugs at the time of the incident. Mr McDonagh, told the court: “I am sorry.”
Mr Kennelly said his client’s behaviour was like that of an adolescent. His client, he said, would ring him up seven and eight times a day.
Judge Zaidan adjourned the case until July 18.
A report on Mr McDonagh is to be prepared by the Probation Services, which will do a psychological assesement.
Judge Zaidan said the victim could give a statement in court, or in writing or via the Gardai.