Sus­pended sen­tence for sex as­sault while on stag night



A MAN who sex­u­ally as­saulted a young woman as she lay sleep­ing re­ceived a two and a half year sus­pended sen­tence at Wicklow Cir­cuit Court re­cently.

Ja­son Cole (30), Hil­lview, Bal­roth­ery, Bal­brig­gan pleaded guilty to sex­u­ally as­sault­ing the woman at Avon Ri, Bless­ing­ton in June 2011.

De­tec­tive Garda Pa­trick Twomey said the in­jured party was stay­ing at the Avon Ri com­plex hav­ing trav­elled there for a hen party.

She was out with friends and they later made their way back to the house they were shar­ing.

The hen party had also met up with two stag par­ties who were also stay­ing in the com­plex and some mem­bers of the stag party went on to so­cialise in the house be­ing rented by the hen party.

The vic­tim went to bed and got into bed alone with the door closed.

She hadn’t taken off her track­suit and awoke to feel some­one per­form­ing oral sex on her.

She said she hit the per­son five or six times on the face and head and asked him what he was do­ing.

The woman said her back track­suit and un­der­wear were on the floor say­ing she had been wear­ing them when she went to bed.

She told her friends what had hap­pened and the gar­dai were called.

Cole was in­ter­viewed and ad­mit­ted to dig­i­tally pen­e­trat­ing the woman and per­form­ing oral sex.

He said he had ini­ti­ated all the acts and said ad­mit­ted he had ‘ taken ad­van­tage of an in­tox­i­cated girl when she was asleep in her own bed­room’ say­ing ‘she was drunk and I was drunk. At the time you don’t think of th­ese things’.

When asked if the woman was asleep when he per­formed oral sex Cole said to gar­dai ‘yes she was look­ing back on it’.

Cole said the in­ci­dent was ‘ out of char­ac­ter’ for him and ad­mit­ted drink­ing up to 21 drinks on the night.

In a vic­tim im­pact report which was read into the court the woman said it was dif­fi­cult to ex­press how she has been af­fected by the as­sault.

She said re­port­ing the crime and the sub­se­quent ex­am­i­na­tion and ques­tion­ing had been ex­cep­tion­ally dif­fi­cult and had been ‘one of the most in­tru­sive and trau­matic things ever’.

She said she is still re­ceiv­ing coun­selling at a lo­cal Rape Cri­sis Cen­tre.

The woman out­lined that her work in­volves an el­e­ment of travel abroad and since the at­tack she has strug­gled to do this and needs to be ac­com­pa­nied by a fam­ily mem­ber.

‘I am so afraid of any­one coming into my room. I am al­ways wor­ried about se­cu­rity and I feel I don’t have the con­fi­dence to travel alone.

‘If I am out with­out my part­ner I feel ner­vous and I find stay­ing in my house also very hard. I need to dou­ble check all the win­dows and doors. ‘I feel like a child afraid of the dark.’ The woman who is due to be mar­ried soon said she has to ‘push my­self to at­tend my own wed­ding cel­e­bra­tions and our mar­riage prepa­ra­tions have been over­shad­owed by this.

‘We (as a cou­ple) have been tested by this,’ she said.

‘ This is such a dif­fi­cult sub­ject and it’s so per­sonal. At times I have found it hard to get out of the deep­est dark­est mo­ments.’

She went on to say that she ap­pre­ci­ated Cole’s guilty plea which spared her the trauma of giv­ing ev­i­dence but said ‘I don’t feel safe in my world and that’s not right. I don’t know when or if I’ll feel safe again.

‘ The court case is coming to an end but it’s not the end of it for me and I don’t know if it ever will be.’

Act­ing for Cole Damien Sheri­dan BL said Cole works as a ware­house op­er­a­tive and plays soc­cer and gaelic.

He said Cole had a part­ner at the time of the as­sault but the re­la­tion­ship is ‘cur­rently on hold and it could well be more than that’ say­ing the as­sault had ‘proven more than a strain’.

Mr. Sheri­dan said Cole was ‘dis­gusted’ with him­self when he re­alised what he did.

Judge Michael O’Shea said ‘ this sim­ply shouldn’t have oc­curred’ adding the woman had been en­ti­tled ‘ to the pri­vacy of her own bed­room and not to have a sex­ual as­sault per­pe­trated on her.

‘She was en­ti­tled to feel safe in her bed­room and on see­ing her there he ex­ploited the sit­u­a­tion and took un­fair ad­van­tage of her.’

Judge O’Shea said the as­sault had been ‘dis­gust­ing’ and con­tin­ues to have on­go­ing ef­fects on the woman.

He sen­tenced Cole to two and a half years im­pris­on­ment which he sus­pended for three years and di­rected that Cole be placed on the sex of­fend­ers reg­is­ter for the rel­e­vant pe­riod.

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