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Boy, 15 charged with sex assault on Miss; Court told teacher's buttocks squeezed.

Byline: ANNE LUCEY

A 15-year-old boy appeared in court yesterday charged with sexually assaulting a 50-year-old female teacher.

It is alleged the teen grabbed the teacher in a hug before he "squeezed her buttocks" after the pair met on a street.

The student was accompanied by his mother in court.

Solicitor for the accused, Padraig O'Connell, said the boy was of limited intellectual capacity.

The court, which was held in camera, was told the charge was on the lower end of sexual assault.

A garda gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution and said the teenager made no reply to the charge when he attended a station by appointment on September 27 last. The accused knew the alleged victim, who suffered no physical injury, from school.

Judge James O'Connor, who is deciding on jurisdiction, asked gardai to outline details of the allegation.

The officer said: "The teacher was making her way to a shop and she alleges the young man approached her. She was on x street (name of street withheld) and she says he blocked her path.

"He then grabbed her in a hug and held on to her, and dropped his two hands... and squeezed her buttocks."

He agreed with Judge O'Connor that the alleged clinch could be described as a bear hug. Asked if this was an "inordinately strong squeeze", the garda said it was not.

The officer added: "The teacher was frozen to the spot - the bear hug was quite strong and she couldn't move."

The alleged act was outside the woman's clothing, the garda confirmed to Superintendent Flor Murphy. The 15-year-old had not been in trouble before.

The court was also told of an alleged remark after the teacher emerged from a shop where she went to compose herself.

The garda said: "She went into the shop to gather herself, and when she came out she alleges the accused shouted at her in a loud voice, 'Are you a virgin?' And there was laughter by a group of teenagers."

Judge O'Connor said: "This is boyish behaviour when two or three are together. This has always gone on."

Mr O'Connell said his client's intelligence was "at the very lower level".

Judge O'Connor said: "And this is at the very lower level. Another 50-year-old would laugh at it and say go home and cop yourself on. We will take that into account too."

Mr O'Connell said he would be applying for a probation report, under the terms of the Children's Act.

The bear hug was quite strong and she couldn't move.

GARDA WITNESS YESTERDAY
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 5, 2013
Words:427
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