A French woman who went for a walk along the bank of the River Blackwater in North Cork was sexually assaulted by a young man in a bizarre series of events.
Patrick Tobin, aged 27, of 8 Fanmore, Gould’s Hill, Mallow, Co Cork, was jailed for four years, with the last 18 months suspended, for sexually assaulting the French visitor on July 2, 2016.
Garda John Horgan said that when she went into a field, she saw some young men tending horses and asked them for the best path for a walk by the river.
Tobin volunteered to walk with the woman on that Saturday afternoon.
As the woman was taking a photograph of the river, she turned around to see that Tobin had taken out his penis and called her to look at it.
Garda Horgan said the woman tried to remain calm.
Tobin walked with her and had his hand down inside his pants. He took out his penis again and asked her to have sex with him.
She decided to walk back and was becoming increasingly anxious. A second man who had been with the group came over and gave her a kind of bear-hug but she managed to shake him away.
Tobin asked for a kiss and she did not want to anger him so pointed to her cheek. Garda Horgan said Tobin rubbed his penis against her bottom and this was the physical act which constituted the sexual assault.
When she got back to where she was staying, the gardaí were called. They arrived to find she was visibly upset.
Tobin was later arrested. While he admitted going for a walk with the woman, he denied the sexual allegations. He later pleaded guilty.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin described the nature of Tobin’s sexual behaviour as manic.
“This was a quite bizarre series of events for a man who was married and had no previous for sexual assault, although he does have assault convictions. It started out in an opportunistic way. The unfortunate girl on the banks of the river was going for a walk and he began this bizarre and worrying exposure of himself and rubbing his erect penis against her.”
Dermot Sheehan, defending, said Tobin was developing insight into his offending despite educational challenges in his childhood.
The judge noted the probation report described a number of unaddressed problems in his life and described him as a high risk of reoffending.
In her victim impact statement, the woman said: “I have developed anxiety about secluded places and I am no longer at ease with strangers. I have begun to take note of people’s appearances in case I need to describe them in detail again.
“When I returned home to France I was very uncomfortable in the presence of other men including my male friends. I am fearful and do not trust the intentions of men as a result of this incident.
“I have also lost self-respect. I do not feel attractive and have stopped feeling that I would like to present myself as a beautiful person in the eyes of others.
“Because of what this man did, I have been unable to maintain romantic relationships... I worry that I will never be able to trust the intentions of men in the future.”
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