A man who subjected a teenage girl to “a shocking ordeal” by grabbing her underwear as she walked from her secondary school has been jailed for six months.
amil Szymczak (35) of Chapel Hill, Fermoy, Co Cork pleaded guilty to sexual assault of the girl in the north Cork town on February 7 last.
Judge Joanne Carroll was told at Fermoy District Court that Szymczak was heavily intoxicated at the time.
He approached the girl with another man and, without warning, grabbed the top of her thong underwear which was visible underneath her jumper and jacket.
The victim was heading to lunch with two other teenage girls when the attack occurred.
Her thong was grabbed so forcefully it snapped against her buttocks.
A teenage boy saw what had happened and came over to check on the welfare of the girl – and also confronted the two men.
The girl left the scene but was shocked and upset by what had happened.
She spent time crying in the school toilets before formally reporting what had happened to her.
Szymczak was arrested a short time later.
In defence, it was pointed out that Szymczak was intoxicated and later apologised for his behaviour.
The court was told he was offering no excuse for what happened and accepted the incident was appalling.
Szymczak was said to be deeply remorseful for his actions and wanted to publicly apologise to the victim.
Judge Carroll heard his remorse was underlined by his realisation the victim was very young and he was an adult male.
The court was told Szymczak was now attempting to address his issues with drink and drugs.
Judge Carroll heard Szymczak has 26 previous convictions for offences ranging from burglary and criminal damage to drug possession and assault.
She warned the assault was a very serious matter.
Judge Carroll said it was a reprehensible act and the defendant had “wronged the victim most profoundly.”
She also noted it was an aggravating factor that he had been on bail in respect of another matter when the Fermoy incident occurred.
Judge Carroll jailed Szymczak for six months and directed that he be listed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for a period of ten years.
His sentence will take into account time he had already spent in custody.
The term will be served after he completes a sentence already imposed for the previous matter for which he was on bail.