University administrator sexually assaulted Airbnb guest in Dublin pub
A college administrator has been given a suspended sentence for sexually assaulting his Airbnb guest after taking the woman and her fiancee on a historic pub crawl in Dublin.
Brendan Leahy, 54, of Fenian Street, Dublin 2, appeared before Judge John Hughes in Dublin District Court on Wednesday.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the American tourist at Kehoe’s Pub on St Anne Street on 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.
Justice Hughes said: “There was some premeditation, I would call a sneaky element.”
Leahy took her away from her partner, brought her around a screen and “then took the opportunity to satisfy herself,” Justice Hughes 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 bedroom which he used for Airbnb.
He took the couple on a tour of Dublin’s historic pubs.
Leahy, who got drunk, offered to show the woman the hatch area in Kehoe’s comfy.
Garda 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 shown in court. Garda Finnegan said the attack lasted six and a half seconds.
Later that night, the woman and her partner went to the Pearse Street police station and reported the incident. Gardai accompanied them to Leahy’s apartment, so they could collect their belongings and move to a hotel.
The woman did not have to return to Ireland to testify as Leahy pleaded guilty. She provided a victim impact statement which was read in court. The woman described the effects on her mental health.
She described how she was left in shock and suffered flashbacks leading to panic attacks. She had difficulty sleeping, being alone and had difficulty concentrating on her work.
The woman became disgusted with herself and blamed herself for the incident which resulted in difficulties of intimacy with her husband.
She attends consultations and takes medication for anxiety.
She lost the ability to be independent and this led to increased dependence on her family. She no longer wanted to travel abroad.
Leahy, a divorced father of two, had no previous criminal convictions and cooperated with the investigation, the court said. Two months later, he drove to Pearse Street Garda station and explained that he did not remember the incident because he was too drunk.
He identified himself on the commercial video footage.
He could have faced 12 months in prison and a € 5,000 fine in the district court.
In a mitigating plea, defense lawyer Ruth Walsh said Leahy was remorseful and “absolutely devastated.” By pleading guilty, he had wanted to prevent the woman from further trauma of having to testify.
He had used his spare bedroom for Airbnb and invited the couple to show them historic Dublin pubs.
He was previously employed in the UK for the NHS, but now worked in Ireland in a high-level teaching position at a prestigious third-level institution.
In that role, he was the head of facilities and services, over 400 staff, the court said. Leahy has also been heavily involved in youth and adult rugby.
He had stopped providing Airbnb after the attack.
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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 attend sex offenses training as directed by the probation service.
Justice Hughes also explained that the compensation order was part of the sentencing, but was not indicative of the level of harm the victim would have been entitled to in civil court.