Airbnb host avoids jail for sexually assaulting guest in Dublin pub

A UNIVERSITY administrator has been given a suspended sentence for sexually assaulting his Airbnb guest after taking the woman and her fiance on a historic pub tour in Dublin.

rendan Leahy (54), of Fenian Street, Dublin 2, appeared before Judge John Hughes in Dublin District Court yesterday.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the American tourist at Kehoe’s Pub on South Anne Street during a date in the summer of 2018.

Leahy held the woman from behind and pushed her forehead several times after offering to show her something in the pub.

“There was a certain premeditation, I would call it a sneaky element,” Justice Hughes said.

Leahy pulled the wife away from her partner, took her around a screen and “then took the opportunity to be satisfied,” the judge said.

He imposed a three-month sentence but suspended it on the condition that Leahy attend a sex offender education course, pay a € 1,000 fine and pay an additional € 1,000 in compensation to her victim.

He was also ordered to stop providing Airbnb services.

The court heard that the sexual assault had a “profound effect” on the victim.

Garda Ruth Finnegan told Judge Hughes that the woman and her partner stayed in Leahy’s guest room, which he used for Airbnb.

He took the couple on a tour of historic Dublin pubs, got drunk and offered to show the woman the hatch area in Kehoe’s cozy.

Gda Finnegan said that “when the injured person entered the area, the accused came up behind them, grabbed their waist and kicked them four or five times.”

CCTV footage was released in court and Gda Finnegan said the attack lasted six and a half seconds.

Later that night, the woman and her partner went to the Pearse Street guard post and reported the incident.

Gardaí accompanied them to Leahy’s apartment so that they could collect their belongings.

The woman did not have to return to Ireland to testify as Leahy had pleaded guilty.

The divorced father of two had no previous criminal convictions and cooperated with the investigation, the court said.

Two months later, he went to the Pearse Street Guard station and explained that he did not remember the incident because he was too drunk.

He identified himself on the commercial video footage.

Leahy could have faced a 12-month prison sentence and a fine of € 5,000 in district court.

In a mitigating plea, defense lawyer Ruth Walsh said Leahy felt remorse and was “absolutely devastated.”

The court heard he was prepared to engage in restorative justice programs and would donate money to women’s organizations and charities to avoid conviction.

Judge Hughes said there had to be a deterrent because he recorded a conviction.

He imposed the three-month sentence which was suspended on the condition that Leahy did not reoffend within the next 12 months and received education, as per instructions from the probation service.

Justice Hughes said that although the compensation order was part of the conviction, it was not indicative of the level of harm the victim would have been entitled to in civil court.

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