Former RTÉ journalist who sexually assaulted sleeping woman jailed for 15 months – Meczyki Times

A former RTÉ journalist who sexually assaulted a woman in her sleep has been jailed for 15 months.

Michael O’Leydon (38), of Sunnyside, Malahide Road, Artane, was convicted last April of sexually assaulting him at his former home in south Dublin in the early hours of May 13, 2018.

Ó Leidhin, from Ballinskillegs, Co Kerry, had denied the offence, but his lawyers told the sentencing at the Central Criminal Court earlier this month that he now accepted the jury’s verdict.

Sentencing him on Tuesday, Ms Justice Karen O’Connor agreed to a defense request that the sentence be stayed until next Monday, August 1, when Ó Leidhin is due to appear in Mountjoy Prison.

The judge said Ó Leidhin had “accepted the judgment but not the import of the judgment and that is relevant when asked to consider remorse”. It said the complainant had given “compelling” evidence of the ongoing trauma he suffered as a result of the attack.

He imposed an 18-month sentence and suspended the last three months on several conditions.

A female Ó Leidhin supporter wept after the sentence was handed down.

At a previous sentencing hearing, Garda Neil Frein told Michael Delaney SC, prosecuting, that the complainant, who is legally entitled to anonymity, had been drinking with a female friend in a Dublin pub when the defendant Met Alaihi who knew his friend.

The group went to another pub and the woman and Ó Leidhin were kissing. At the end of the night, Ó Leidhin asked the woman to go back to his flat in south Dublin, and they found a taxi there.

In the flat they were kissing and Ó Leidhin engaged in consensual foreplay. Ó Leidhin suggests that they have penetrative sex. Mr Delaney told the court the woman said no but left open the possibility he could do it the next morning.

In his account to gardaí, Ó Leidhin said he was unable to produce an erection.

The woman then fell asleep and later woke up to find Lydian on top of her and groping her breasts. She said he asked her to stop and take it off. He stopped and told her: “Sorry, I’m horny.”

The court heard she was angry and told the defendant she was clearly asleep.

The woman said she went back to sleep. Later that night Ó Leidhin took her home and over the next few days she sent him texts expressing her displeasure at what had happened.

GDA Frayne said he met him and spoke for an hour and “they agreed to disagree” about what happened. Almost a year later in April 2019, the woman went to gardaí and complained of sexual assault.

The following July, Ó Leidhin met gardaí and said that after sleeping together he had woken up and started kissing the woman and getting on top of her. She said he tried to wake her up and when she woke up, she was angry about what he was doing while she was sleeping.

Ó Leidhin told gardaí that he told her they had engaged in sexual foreclosure and were trying to wake up the woman to continue “fooling”.

Gda Freyne told the court that Ó Leidhin has no other criminal convictions and has never come to the attention of gardaí before or since the incident.

He agreed with Bernard Condon SC, defending, that he was co-operating fully with the investigation and had a good working history as a journalist.

Mr Condon said his client had been suspended from his position at RTÉ and would face difficulties working again in his chosen field. He cited numerous long-acquittal statements that described the defendant as a supportive friend and described his shame and sadness over the night’s events.

Mr Condon said his client was remorseful and accepted the jury’s verdict after putting his understanding of what happened to the jury.

Reading her own victim impact statement, the woman said that although she wished to remain anonymous, she did not want Ó Leidhin to remain anonymous.

She said the attack left her traumatized and feeling lost in the world. She said she was sexually assaulted when she was most vulnerable.

She said the night of the attack was the last time she would go to sleep feeling safe from attack.

The woman said she repeated the attack over and over and felt depressed and suicidal. She said she tried to kill herself with an overdose and moved back in with her parents outside Dublin to deal with the trauma and stress.

She was unable to get public transport for a long time because “the touch of a stranger was intolerable”.

“My whole life and sense of self has been destroyed,” she said. She said that since then she has found it extremely difficult to trust men and will completely freeze during any intimate sexual activity.

She said it was three years before she reported the assault before the trial took place. It said that this was completely unacceptable and that victims of sexual violence were forced into a state of trauma.

She said giving evidence and being cross-examined was incredibly painful and she sometimes felt like she was going to have a heart attack.

Sentencing on Tuesday morning, Ms Justice O’Connor noted that Ó Leidhin was a man of previous good character, who had lost a “prominent and promising” career in the media after being sentenced. She said she considered him a low risk of future sexual assault.

Defense counsel had urged the judge to consider dealing with the sentence through community sanction, but the judge said the offense deserved a custodial sentence.