Suspended sentence Airbnb host avoids jail for sex assault on guest in Dublin city pub
Brendan Leahy (54), had pleaded guilty earlier to sexually assaulting the American tourist at Kehoe’s Pub on South Anne Street on a date in the summer of 2018.
Brendan Leahy. Pic: Collins
March 25 2021 06:00 AM
A UNIVERSITY administrator has received a suspended sentence for sexually assaulting his Airbnb guest after taking the woman and her fiance on a historic pub tour in Dublin.
Brendan Leahy (54), of Fenian Street, Dublin 2, appeared before Judge John Hughes at Dublin District Court yesterday.
He had pleaded guilty earlier to sexually assaulting the American tourist at Kehoe’s Pub on South Anne Street on a date in the summer of 2018.
Leahy held the woman from behind and repeatedly pushed his front into her after he offered to show her something in the pub.
“There was some premeditation, I would call it a devious element,” Judge Hughes said.
Leahy absented the woman from her partner, took her around a screen and “took his opportunity then to self-gratify himself”, the judge said.
He imposed a three-month sentence but suspended it on condition Leahy completes a sex offenders education course, pays a €1,000 fine and gives another €1,000 in compensation to his victim.
He was also ordered not to provide Airbnb services again.
The court heard the sexual assault had a “profound effect” on the victim.
Garda Ruth Finnegan told Judge Hughes the woman and her partner had been staying in Leahy’s spare bedroom, which he was using 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 the snug at Kehoe’s.
Gda Finnegan said that “when the injured party stepped inside the area the accused came behind her, grabbed her waist and thrust into her, four or five times”.
CCTV footage was shown in court, and Gda Finnegan said the attack lasted six-and-a-half seconds.
Later that night, the woman and her partner went to Pearse Street garda station and reported the incident.
Gardaí accompanied them to Leahy’s apartment so they could get their belongings.
The woman did not have to return to Ireland to give evidence because Leahy had pleaded guilty.
The divorced father-of-two had no previous criminal convictions and cooperated with the investigation, the court heard.
Two months later, he went to Pearse Street garda station and explained he had no recollection of the incident because he was too drunk.
He identified himself on the video footage from the pub.
Leahy could have faced a 12-month prison term and a €5,000 fine in the district court.
In a mitigation plea, defence solicitor Ruth Walsh said Leahy was remorseful and “absolutely devastated”.
The court heard he was willing to engage in restorative justice programmes and would donate money to women’s aid organisations and charities to avoid a conviction.
Judge Hughes said there had to be a deterrent as he recorded a conviction.
He imposed the three-month sentence which was suspended on condition Leahy does not re-offend within the next 12 months and attends education, as directed by the Probation Service.
Judge Hughes said that while the compensation order was part of the sentencing, it was not indicative of the level of damage the victim would have been entitled to in a civil court.