School chaplain gives evidence in connection with sex conduct trial

The Limerick Circuit Court.

A SCHOOL chaplain gave emotional evidence before Limerick Circuit Criminal Court about how one of their students described how three teenage males had exposed their penises to her and asked her to perform a sex act on them at a Christmas party.

The witness said the girl had told them that one of the males pushed her against a wall and began kissing her as another male put his fingers insider her while third male watched and touched his exposed penis.

The three males went on trial last week, each accused of one count of sexual assaulting the girl – a charge they all denied.

During the trial, the State accepted pleas by two of the males to a lesser charge of intentionally engaging in offensive conduct of a sexual nature.

The State said it was dropping the sex assault charge against the third male and arraigned him on the lesser charge of engaging in sexually offensive conduct, which he also denies.

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The chaplain told the court that the girl visited their office in January 2018 and told them that the three males had exposed their penises to her and told her they wanted her to perform oral sex on each of them, after which they would “rate” her.

The alleged incident took place on the grounds of a rugby club in Limerick, which was hired for a Christmas party in December 2017.

The chaplain told the court that the girl told them that the three accused males “ran away” when they heard a friend of the girl calling for her.

The chaplain said the matter was referred to Tusla, as well as the Gardaí.

A young woman, who attended the party on the night, also gave evidence that she saw one of the three males, not the accused, give a “nod” to the alleged victim “in a kind of ‘come on, come with me’ gesture”, as if to invite the girl to come outside after the party had ended.

The witness said a while later, as she waited for her parents to collect her from the venue, she saw the three identified males “running from behind the rugby clubhouse, laughing”.

The witness said she saw that the trousers of one of the three males, not the accused man, was “down” and his “underwear were visible”.

The witness said she then saw the alleged victim “visibly shaking and crying”.

“I ran to her and she said ‘they’ – or ‘he’ – ‘touched me, felt me up’.”

The witness agreed with the barrister that she did not see the accused man engaging in any kind of inappropriate or illegal sexual behaviour on the night.

Last Thursday, the alleged victim said that during the party she saw the accused, who was with a group of other males, expose his penis.

She claimed that when the party ended, one of the three males, not the accused man, led her out of the club by her hand and around to the back of the clubhouse, where they were joined by the two other males, including the man on trial.

Under cross examination, the woman said she had been “borderline drunk” on the night and agreed she had said in her direct evidence that she had felt “panicked” walking around the back of the clubhouse with the three males. She also agreed she did not raise her fear with anyone.

She agreed that when one of the males, not the accused, began kissing her, she did not push him away, and that the accused man might have had his penis in his hand because, as his barrister suggested, he was going to the toilet at the time.

The woman agreed she had lied when she shouted at a friend of one of the males that one of them “tried to f**king rape me”.

“I’m sorry I overreacted, it wasn’t rape, that’s not true, it was a lie, in a moment of rage,” the woman told the court.

She said it had been “my perception” at the time that she had been sexually assaulted by the three males, but she agreed “it is the reality that not all three assaulted me”.

She said she did not contact the Gardaí because she “just wanted to go home.”

The trial continues tomorrow (Tuesday) before a jury of seven women and five men.