Head of Facilities and Services receives suspended sentence for sexual assault

Head of Facilities and Services at Trinity has avoided prison after receiving a suspended sentence for sexually assaulting his AirBnB guest

Brendan Leahy, Trinity’s Head of Facilities and Services, has received a suspended sentence in court today for sexually assaulting an AirBnB guest nearly three years ago.

The assault occurred after Leahy brought the guest and her fiance on a historic pub tour of Dublin. 

Leahy appeared in front of a judge at Dublin District Court today after having plead guilty to sexually assaulting the woman in the summer of 2018, the Irish Independent has reported.

The assault occurred at Kehoe’s Pub on South Anne Street and involved Leahy repeatedly pushing the front of his body against the woman from behind.

A garda told Judge John Hughes that the victim had been staying in Leahy’s spare bedroom, which was in use as an Airbnb.

CCTV footage of the assault that lasted six and a half seconds was shown in court. 

The judge imposed a three-month sentence but suspended it on the condition that Leahy does not reoffend in the next year; completes a sex offenders education course; pays a €1,000 fine; and gives another €1,000 in compensation to the woman. 

The judge ordered Leahy to no longer provide Airbnb services.

Following the assault in the summer of 2018, the woman and her fiance went to Pearse Street garda station and reported the incident. 

The court was told that the sexual assault had a “profound effect” on the woman, the Independent reported.

The woman provided a victim impact statement that was read out in court today which detailed that she was left in shock, suffered flashbacks and panic attacks, and has been taking anti-anxiety medication.

Leahy had no previous criminal convictions and co-operated with the investigation, the court was told. Following the assault, after two months, he went to Pearse Street garda station and said he didn’t recall the incident because he was too drunk. Leahy identified himself in the CCTV footage from the night in the pub.

He could have faced a 12-month prison term and a €5,000 fine in the district court, but in a mitigation plea, defence solicitor Ruth Walsh said that Leahy was remorseful and “absolutely devastated”.

Leahy is the Head of Facilities and Services within Estates and Facilities, a role which he has held since January 2015. 

Trinity sets out a definition of sexual harassment in its Dignity and Respect Policy, but not of sexual assault.

The policy states that “assault, including sexual assault, is not within the University’s disciplinary jurisdiction and, as a matter of criminal law, should be referred to An Garda Siochana,” the policy states”.

A list of examples of academic staff misconduct governed by College’s statues includes sexual harassment on College premises or in the course of employment, but does not make reference to instances of sexual harassment off-campus.

A similar list setting out examples of serious misconduct governing support and technical staff includes “serious breaches of the College’s policies regarding sexual or other forms of harassment”.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.