A HSE employee who groped a female colleague was fined €500 after a judge ruled the offence was at the “minor end” of the scale.
The 53-year-old defendant, who is married with children, had denied sexually assaulting the woman on September 27, 2012
During a contested hearing, which was heard earlier this year, Limerick Court was told the charge related to an incident which happened at a HSE premises in the city where the accused man was working at the time.
Judge Aeneas McCarthy heard the defendant, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, had approached the woman on the pretext that he wanted her to look up something for him on her computer.
He then began to massage her shoulders before putting his hand down her top and touching the top of her breasts. The man did not put his hand inside the woman’s bra.
A probation report showed the man, who is the subject of separate disciplinary proceedings, is unlikely to re-offend in future.
Solicitor Ted McCarthy said his client, who has attended counselling since the incident, has worked all his life and was never in trouble prior to the incident.
He added that his wife and family are “supportive of him in the most part”.
Mr McCarthy said while his client still disputes the facts of the case he accepts the decision of the presiding judge.
In her Victim Impact Statement, the woman indicated she would have been happy to deal with the matter “in house” had the defendant admitted what happened and apologised to her at the time.
Imposing sentence, Judge McCarthy noted that there is an “almost negligible” chance of the man re offending and that he may lose his job as a result of what happened.
He said that while the incident was “serious and upsetting” for the victim it was at the minor end of the scale in the “overall scheme of sexual assaults which come before the courts”.
Given the circumstances of the case, the judge said he would not place the man’s name on the Register of Sexual Offenders.