The middle-aged man who claimed he was only having banter with four 15-year-old girls on the back of a bus was found guilty today of harassing the schoolgirls and sexually assaulting one of them.
Anthony Quigley, aged 45, of 14 Roches Heights, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, was found guilty of charges including one of sexual assault and four of harassment on December 4 last year in the course of a bus journey.
He was also found guilty of engaging in threatening words or behaviour and common assault on one of the teenagers. The jury deliberated for three and a half hours and then returned to Cork Circuit Criminal Court where they delivered their verdict.
They found Quigley guilty of all seven counts against him by unanimous verdicts. Judge Brian O’Callaghan remanded him in custody for sentencing on June 28.
Quigley faces sentencing at the same court for another crime on the same date. A victim impact statement is to be prepared on the teenager who was sexually assaulted.
This teenager testified during the trial that she was sitting on four of the five seats at the back of the bus with three friends and that the accused man came down and sat on the fifth seat.
“He was telling racist jokes — about Chinese or people with dots on their foreheads. He asked us our names. We just said our first names. He shook our hands. I immediately locked in to stranger danger.
“I started coughing. He started rubbing my back and patting my shoulder. I was terrified. He patted my left thigh a few times — my upper thigh. He was pushing close to me and breathing on me. I was terrified. He was invading my privacy. He smelled awful. He asked if we liked his aftershave. He asked if we had Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook,” she said.
Another witness described his jokes as racist and sexist. She said there was reference to winning the lottery and that he said if he did he would take them on holidays and would love to stay in a room with her.
She said she felt uncomfortable and he asked about boyfriends.
"He wrote down his number and said I should call him and send him compliments. He kept saying he hopes I call him. I kind of froze,” she said.
She also said that he caught her hand and squeezed it more than if one was shaking hands. This was the basis of the common assault charge.
Quigley said all he did was engage in banter and asked: “If a fella is being brought to court for this what is the world coming to?”
Questioned by Detective Garda Denis Ryan, Quigley said: “That is not my style of thing. You are saying inappropriate, I am saying banter… Off my head might have been an easier way to describe my antics.”
When prosecution barrister Imelda Kelly said the four girls were consistent in their evidence, including an allegation that Quigley said one girl’s mother was a prostitute, he denied the claims and said, “They were coached. Nothing sexual was told.”
Ms Kelly said: “You said you would like to take the girls on holiday and share a hotel room with them?” He replied: “I said I would take them away to Disneyland. I did not say anything about a room.”