Court hears there was sexual context to constant messages
A guitar teacher and bar manager has been jailed for harassing a teenage girl.
A court was told Gary Keenan still can’t figure out or accept “how the victim felt harassed”.
Giving evidence during the trial, the girl said that between New Year’s Eve 2018 and New Year’s Day 2019 there had been constant “pings” to her mobile phone.
They were messages from Keenan repeatedly asking her to come to the bedroom because he “wanted to show her something”.
The 27-year-old was convicted of two counts of harassment, but the jury acquitted him of inciting sexual activity and sexual assault.
Keenan, from St John’s Park in Cullyhanna, was handed a 13-month jail sentence, half of which is to be spent behind bars and the rest under licence conditions.
The judge told Newry Crown Court his teenage victim has suffered “negative repercussions” because of his actions.
The constant harassment had impacted on her home life, school work, her exams and she even had to give up her job because she struggled to cope.
In relation to a second incident, in May 2019, the judge quoted her testimony: “He started texting me on Snapchat and kept telling me to come in. I opened it once and it went again and again. I then stopped opening it and then I put my music on full blast and went to sleep and I woke up and saved it. Every time he did something he has just got up the next day and acted like nothing had happened.”
The court was told Keenan’s course of harassment was clearly in a “sexualised context’’, which was an aggravating factor and which left his victim “distressed and frightened”.
“He ignored her refusals and distress by persisting to text her to come into her room,” said the judge.
Jailing Keenan the judge said the sexualised context elevated the case to “make it of the most serious type”.
As well as jail, Keenan was also handed a five-year restraining order.