Ex-mayor of Cork faces sex charges

John Murray, now aged 83 and a former member of Cork City Council, has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the girl in the 1990s

Former lord mayor of Cork John Murray — now aged 83 — has gone on trial on six counts of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in the 1990s.

Mr Murray, of 17 Gregg Rd, Cork, a former Labour Party official and retired member of Cork City Council, pleaded not guilty to six charges of sexually assaulting the girl on occasions between 1996 and 1998.

The complainant said the first sexual assault occurred in 1996, and that two years ago — in the presence of her parents and others — she confronted Mr Murray about her allegations that he had sexually assaulted her.

She testified yesterday in relation to this meeting: “He said I would have touched your breasts, I would have given you a kiss. I [the complainant] said, what else? I would have touched your vagina but I never had sex with you.”

She said at that point in the meeting, attended by her parents, Mr Murray, and others, there was hysterical crying in the room.

“I said I was terrified of you. He said, I never shouted at you, I never hit you,” she testified.

Alice Fawsitt SC, defending, said her client denied making any such admissions at the confrontation meeting and denied ever sexually assaulting her.

Ms Fawsitt challenged the complainant on why she waited so long to make her complaints and on the feelings she had of feeling intimidated by him.

“He never said nothing to me, he didn’t have to, he was a very high-profile man at the time,” said the complainant.

“He would have been lord mayor, I didn’t know if I was going to be believed.”

Ms Fawsitt said the defendant was saying none of the incidents happened and that the claims were not true.

In her direct evidence, the complainant outlined the six alleged incidents. She said the first time he told her she was a very beautiful girl and began kissing her lips and neck and groping her breasts. She said he was quite rough and used his tongue and that she was frozen in fear.

She said a second sexual assault occurred in the car when he rubbed her vagina outside her clothes while moaning and rubbing his penis. During the third alleged incident, she said he whispered into her ear, “I would love to fuck you”.

In respect of the fourth complaint, she said he pulled down her underwear when she was wearing a summer dress and put his fingers into her and with his other hand took out his penis and pulled at it. She said he was extremely rough and that she was very sore for a few days afterwards.

She said that on another occasion he admired her recently dyed blond hair and rubbed her breasts. She said the last alleged incident occurred when he tried to force his hand inside her tight-fitting jeans in his car and rubbed himself in the penis area until another car passed with headlights pointing into the car.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said in respect of the meeting between the complainant and Mr Murray attended by several others that there were various accounts by the different parties as to what was said.

The trial continues today.


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