A man cleared of sexual assault said his name should never have been made public and called for the law to be changed.
Speaking outside court, Eamon Power said the accused in sex assault cases should have the same right to anonymity as the alleged victim until they have been found guilty.
Mr Power, a 35-year-old from Limerick, was unanimously found not guilty of sexually assaulting a teenage girl after two hours of deliberation.
Crying openly after the verdict, Mr Power said his life had been hell since the allegations surfaced three years ago. He could not get work and his health suffered.
“People have been coming up to me and calling me a scumbag. My name is on the paper, which it should not be. I think it was completely wrong and they should be able to do something about that. I have no previous convictions ever. I have nothing ever against me.
“At least it’s over now.”
His former girlfriend, Geraldine Carey, who gave defence evidence during the trial said: “I know Eamon. I was in a relationship with him for eight years, and know him inside out; an absolute gentleman. Eamon is the kind of man, if anybody called and were stuck, he’d drop what he was doing. He is a gentleman.
“I think it is outrageous it came to court and these allegations were taken into consideration, that this could possibly happen. It’s a pure disgrace.”
She said when they left the court on Tuesday they heard his name on the radio.
“Eamon Power, his name, address, that he was charged with three sexual assaults of a minor going back.”
His sister Nuala said a sexual allegation was the lowest of the low and as a result her brother could not get work. The family had to live the nightmare day in day out, she said.
The alleged victim, who is now aged 19, told the trial Mr Power unzipped her jeans when giving her a driving lesson.
She claimed the incident happened on the October bank holiday weekend in 2008 after Mr Power drove her to an industrial estate in Kilmallock.
In two previous incidents she claimed the accused attempted to place his hand on her breast when visiting her house with his then girlfriend, Ms Carey.
Garda Marie Tuohy said that during interviews Mr Power repeatedly denied the girl’s allegations.
The jury returned unanimous not guilty verdicts on all three counts.
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