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Woman groped three times by man on school job interview

Published 15/07/2016

Ward, of Barry Road, Finglas West, pleaded guilty to sexual assault
Ward, of Barry Road, Finglas West, pleaded guilty to sexual assault

A job applicant sexually assaulted a staff member at a Dublin school as she was showing him around the premises after the interview.

Noel Ward (28) grabbed the shocked woman's bottom three times and told her she had a "fine a**e" during the assault.

Judge Anthony Halpin described it as one of the "most peculiar cases" he had dealt with and adjourned sentencing at Dublin District Court.

Ward, of Barry Road, Finglas West, pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

The court heard the incident happened at a school on June 10 last year.

Ward had attended for a job interview and the victim was showing him around the complex afterwards.

He then touched her inappropriately three times.

The first time, the victim thought it had been accidental.

The second time she looked at him and in the third, he grabbed her and said "that is a fine a**e you have there".

The victim reported the incident to the gardai and Ward was later arrested.

He had no previous convictions and made full admissions to gardai when he was later questioned. The accused was also extremely apologetic for his actions on the day, his barrister said.

It was totally out of character for him and he had never been in any court for any offence before, he said.

Ward's defence said he had seen "dramatic negative changes" in the accused, who had not been eating because of anxiety over the case.

Ward had worked as a warehouse operative and was unemployed when he applied for a position at the school through the Tus community employment scheme.

"Was he on drugs?" the judge asked. "Even if you have a burning desire to do something, if it is against the law, you have to control yourself. I find it a very strange case."

Mr Griffin accepted it was a "totally bizarre set of circumstances".

The victim explained to the court the incident had affected her greatly and an apology "doesn't really mean anything to me".

The judge said it was a credit to the victim that she had "come out of this" and reported what must have been a "source of embarrassment".

"I was mortified," she said.

The judge said he wanted to consider the case before finalisation.

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