Jail for Cavan man for sex assaults on way home from counselling

A Cavan man has been sentenced to two years in prison for sexually assaulting random women on the street while on his way home from counselling at a sexual offenders treatment centre.

A Cavan man has been sentenced to two years in prison for sexually assaulting random women on the street while on his way home from counselling at a sexual offenders treatment centre.

Mark Bannon (aged 38) of Crover, Mount Nugent, groped three young women on three separate occasions in the Kilmainham area of Dublin.

He had come up to Dublin to attend court ordered treatment at the Granada Institute and said that the therapy seasons “riled up his tendencies” which he then acted on.

Bannon has five previous convictions including one for masturbating in his car in front of an ATM and one involving an incident in the lady’s toilets of Cavan District Court.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexually assaulting the three women, all in their early 20s, on September 10 and October 8 and 14, 2009.

Judge Desmond Hogan said at an earlier sentence hearing that he was greatly concerned about Bannon’s likelihood to reoffend and ordered a probation report be prepared.

He suspended the last 12 months of the sentence on condition that Bannon be of good behaviour for three years and liaises with the probation service for 12 months.

Detective Garda Paul Cornish told prosecuting counsel, Ms Gerardine Small BL, that the first victim was walking home from work when she passed Bannon and nodded hello to him. He put his hand against her chest and said hello in a hushed, drawn out manner.

She said he did not break his stride and seemed “well practiced”. He then continued walking on and she went home and called gardaí.

The second victim was walking to get a bus to college when Bannon passed by her and put his hands inside her clothes. He felt her genitals and when she screamed he calmly walked away.

The last women was also passing Bannon in the street when he grabbed in between her legs before casually walking away.

A description of him was circulated among gardaí and a patrol car spotted him a few days later in the Kilmainham area. When gardaí asked him what he was doing he said he was on the way to a class to address his “sexual tendencies”.

Gardaí confirmed he was the man they were looking for and arrested him. He admitted the assaults, saying he was getting treatment and that he “only grabbed her arse”.

He said one of the women was “good looking” and “seemed to catch my eye” so he went for her. He said after the assaults he would feel disgusted with himself.

“It’s a scary place to be. I’d rather be an alcoholic than suffer with what I do,” he told gardaí.

He said he had such urges since he was 10-years-old and that it was like a “headache that won’t go away”.

Det Gda Cornish said the assaults affected all three women and caused them to be fearful walking down the street.

Defence counsel, Mr Pieter Le Vert BL, said Bannon attended counselling which would “rile up these tendencies” and he would then act on them. He said he has since been kicked off the course because of the offences.

Mr Le Vert said his client has a strong work history and had set up his own business in 2002 restoring motorbikes and cars but it has since ceased trading.

He said he had suffered two serious assaults as a child and that he had an abusive parent. Counsel added that he now has strong family support and has not offended since his arrest.

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