A man has been jailed for five years for a sexual assault on a woman he met on the Internet dating programme Tinder.
Paul Flaherty (30) was found guilty by a jury at the Central Criminal Court last December of sexual assaulting a woman at his home on Kiltipper Avenue, Tallaght, on August 31, 2015.
The incident took place while Flaherty’s parents were in the next-door bedroom.
Mr Justice Michael White said that Flaherty’s behaviour on the night was “disgusting” and he was satisfied this event had a “very serious impact” on the victim.
The judge noted that the woman had made it clear to Flaherty that she was not interested in sexual contact but he ignored that request.
He said the woman’s integrity for her body was “sacrosanct” and this was a “very serious sexual assault” which could not be described as minor. The court accepted that the sexual assault was not pre-meditated.
In her victim impact statement, the former civil servant said her life would never be the same again since Flaherty, a man “twice” her size, sexually assaulted her.
“It shouldn’t matter what clothes I was wearing, how I wore my hair or what I said. On that night, this man abused my trust, preyed upon my naivety and annihilated my human rights.
“He left bruises on my body, which have long since faded, and he inflicted scars upon my mind that will never heal,” she said.
She said not only had she suffered “physical and mental torture” but she had to “relive the event” during the trial where her life had been “stripped bare” and her character “assassinated”.
“The fact that another human being is capable of inflicting such horror upon another was, and still is, so profoundly shocking to me. I no longer dream of raising children because the world seems so sinister now”, she said.
The woman said every “unfamiliar man” now had the potential to be a “predator” and she felt forced to give up her civil service job as she could not concentrate on her work.
She feared walking to and from her workplace car park and worried Flaherty would attack her again.
She said there was no manual for “overcoming something so abhorrent” and she “very nearly” lost everything she had worked for because of Flaherty’s actions on that night.
Garda Aisling O’Connor told Kerida Naidoo SC, prosecuting, that Flaherty and the woman initially made contact through the Tinder dating app before exchanging numbers.
They arranged to meet and spent the day drinking together before returning to his parent’s house in Tallaght.
They went to Flaherty’s bedroom where there was consensual kissing before Flaherty went on to assault the woman.
Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, said on behalf of his client he offered an unqualified apology to the woman for his conduct which should not have happened.