Man caught masturbating near playground avoids prison

A suspended sentence was imposed yesterday on a Macroom man who was caught masturbating in bushes near a park playground in Cork City.

Man caught masturbating near playground avoids prison

Sentencing had been adjourned for a probation report. However, the report said the convicted man insisted he was not guilty.

Jim Cronin, aged 54, of Teergay, Toonsbridge, Macroom, Co Cork, had denied masturbating at Fitzgerald’s Park, Cork. He claimed: “I was sightseeing, watching the wildlife.”

Judge Olann Kelleher convicted him on a charge of engaging in abusive or insulting behaviour on the morning of August 12, 2015.

Yesterday, Judge Kelleher said: “The big problem here is that he does not accept the verdict of the court. He should appeal the case if wants. He is entitled to appeal. He is telling the probation service he cannot co-operate because he was not guilty.”

Frank Buttimer, solicitor, suggested the case be finalised on the basis that the incident occurred in 2015 and he had not come to the notice of gardaí since then.

Insp Daniel Coholan said that in 2002, Cronin got 100 hours of community service for a sexual assault.

For the public order offence arising out of the incident in the Park, the judge imposed a three-month sentence suspended on condition that he is of good behaviour for the next two years.

Judge Kelleher said after hearing the case last October that he accepted the evidence of the man who brought his daughter and niece to the park and witnessed Cronin behaving in this way.

Mr Buttimer said the defendant’s communication skills and other issues would be matters of concern.

The witness said during the trial: “That man was there with his pants down, masturbating, looking at kids. First, I thought he was going for a wee but I went back and he was still at it. By the time I took him out of the bush another parent also took him out of bush.”

Cronin denied masturbating and further stated that no children were present in the park at the time. Cronin said another man who was not present in court threatened him.

“He would kill me stone dead,” said Cronin.

“He said he would kick me in the river and drown me.”

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