Michael Kowalski pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to two charges of sexual assaults on women in different parts of Cork City on the evening of May 24, 2016.
A probation report showed he had a lack of insight into his offending behaviour and a lack of empathy for the victims.
Defence barrister Donal O’Sullivan said that while such findings would generally be regarded as aggravating factors, they were indicative of the psychological or psychiatric difficulties of the young man that gave rise to the behaviour.
Judge David Riordan said it was fortunate the injured parties were quite able to deal with their attacker.
Garda Brigette O’Connor described the two women as hardy and robust. While the first victim fended him off, the second went further and struck him with her water bottle and also kicked him.
The judge imposed a total sentence of 18 months, half of which was suspended.
The judge said the sentence was designed to bring the accused to his senses, act as a deterrent, and also encourage the rehabilitation of the accused through a lengthy period under the guidance of the Probation Service.
Det Garda Maurice O’Connor outlined the background to the case when it first came up for sentencing in February.
He said that the first victim was going home on the bus when she noticed that the defendant had gotten on to the bus at the same time as her and also left the bus when she went to walk home.
She told gardaí that he walked up behind her. She slowed down hoping that this would give him an opportunity to pass her but he responded by slowing down also.
When she kept walking he walked up behind her, put his arm around her waist and he placed his hand between her legs. He caught her vagina and tried to put his fingers into her vagina.
She managed to break free and he laughed at her when she shouted at him.
She recognised him in the area later that same evening as she was returning to Cork city centre and she told gardaí that on this occasion he laughed at her again.
On the same date a second woman was going home from her yoga class.
Kowalski was loitering in the city centre and he walked up behind her.
He grabbed her around the waist, placed his hand between her legs and touched her vagina over her clothing.
She pushed him away and he backed off.
She said he could not do that to her and he apologised for doing it.
When interviewed, he said he grabbed the two women by the buttocks and around the waist and no more than that.
Det Garda O’Connor confirmed Kowalski had not been coming to the attention of the gardaí since these sexual assaults occurred.
Mr O’Sullivan said that when the woman in the second sexual assault struck Kowalski with her water bottle and kicked him, he stood back and apologised to her before he ran away.
The defence barrister said that the answers recorded from the accused when questioned by gardaí would not be considered to be normal responses.