Man (35) who grabbed schoolgirl by underwear jailed

‘Shocking violation’ deprived victim her right to be carefree, says judge

A 35-year-old man who grabbed a teenager by her underwear while she was on her lunchbreak from school has been sentenced to six months in jail.

Kamil Szymczak, with an address at Chapel Hill, Fermoy, Co Cork pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the teenager at Chapel Hill, Fermoy on February 7th, 2022, contrary to the Criminal Law (Rape Amendment) 1990 when he appeared on Friday at Fermoy District Court.

Insp Tony Sullivan outlined the circumstances of the sexual assault, which was investigated by Det Garda David Forsythe.

Insp Sullivan told Judge Joanne Carroll that the victim was on her lunch break from school with two friends on Chapel Hill in Fermoy when the accused and another man approached.

He said the girls had their backs turned to the two men when Szymczak grabbed the victim’s underwear – which was visible above her waistband - and pulled it, causing it to snap back against her skin.

A local youth saw what had happened and confronted the two men as the girl and her friends went back to school but she was deeply upset by what had happened and reported it, said Insp Sullivan.

Defence solicitor, Ciaran O’Keeffe said his client was under the influence of intoxicants at the time, but he was making no excuse for his behaviour which he accepted was appalling and despicable, particularly given he was a grown man, and the victim was just a teenager.

Mr O’Keeffe said that his client had made admissions to gardaí when he was arrested a day later for questioning about the offence, and he had since expressed his remorse and now wanted to offer the “deepest apology to the victim for any and all distress that he had caused her by his actions.”

“He accepts that it was a wrong and terrible thing to do to a young girl - indeed, that no matter what age the victim was, it was a reprehensible act,” said Mr O’Keeffe adding that since his client went into custody on February 8th, he has addressed his drink and drug issues and is much improved.

Pleading for leniency and asking Judge Carroll to take into account the fact that Szymczak had spared the girl the trauma of a trial, Mr O'Keeffe said his client fully acknowledged that it was "a terrifying experience for a young girl sitting out with her friends at lunch time in broad daylight in Fermoy."

Insp Sullivan said that Szymczak had a total of 26 previous convictions including ones for possession of drugs, burglary, and criminal damage as well as two for assault, including one recently at Cork Circuit Criminal Court but he had no previous convictions for any sexual offences.

Judge Carroll said she wanted to consider the matter and she rose for 15 minutes to read the young girl’s Victim Impact Statement and when she returned, she said she understood exactly what the young girl felt.

“This was a sexual assault on a young schoolgirl out with her friends at lunch time - it was a shocking violation of her person - the defendant by his action has stolen her right to be carefree and in doing so, he has wronged her most profoundly,” she said.

Insp Sullivan told the judge that Szymczak was on bail at the time on an assault charge of which he had been convicted and sentenced to 15 months earlier this week at Cork Circuit Criminal Court and Judge Carroll said that was a clearly aggravating factor in the case.

She noted that the maximum penalty in the district court for sexual assault was 12 months and she accepted that Szymczak had made admissions and pleaded guilty but taking all factors into account she believed the appropriate sentence was one of six months.

She set the sentence at six months and four days to take account of the three months and four days he had served since going into custody, but she made the remaining three months consecutive to the 15 months sentence he received this week because he was on bail on that charge at the time.

Judge Carroll also ordered that Szymczak’s name be placed on the Sex Offenders Register for a period of ten years following an application by Insp Sullivan as she observed in finalising the matter that he had “done a shocking wrong to a young innocent girl.”