A father of four who sexually assaulted a vulnerable young woman while refurbishing the bathroom in her family home has been jailed for four years.
Judge Pauline Codd said Mujahed Omer (57) had deliberately “concocted a ruse” to seek the woman’s assistance in placing fittings under the bath, causing her to lie on the ground, so he could sexually assault her.
The judge described his actions as “abhorrent behaviour” and “opportunistic” before she added that he had directed his attention to “a vulnerable woman who had grown up in a sheltered environment”. She said as Omer had grown up in the same faith, he would have been aware of the innocence of the victim.
“This was a gross exploitation of a vulnerable young woman. He exploited her innocence in a most grievous manner,” she said.
Judge Codd noted from the 24-year-old’s evidence during a trial and in her victim impact statement that she grew up in the Muslim faith “in which men did not freely interact with young unmarried women”.
She also acknowledged that because of the woman’s upbringing and religion she would have found such matters very difficult to talk about both in reporting of the incident to her family and gardaí and later during her testimony before a jury.
“I commend her for her courage in coming forward to make this complaint,” Judge Codd said before she noted that the woman had engaged in “self-blaming” and felt she had brought shame on her family.
“There is no blame or shame to be borne on her or her family. The blame and shame are solely on him to bear,” Judge Codd said before she said she hopes the woman can move on now.
Judge Codd acknowledged that Omer had no previous convictions and because of the regard in which he was held in his local community the conviction “represented a swift fall from grace”. She said he still maintains his innocence and has expressed no remorse, before she sentenced him to four years in prison.
Omer of Castlegate Row, Adamstown, Lucan, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one count of sexually assaulting the then 21-year-old woman at her family home on August 20, 2017.
He was convicted by a jury following a trial last December and while he accepts that the jury reached that verdict, he still maintains his innocence. He has no previous convictions.
Detective Eoin Twomey told Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting, that Omer called the woman up to the bathroom to ask for her help in removing nuts and bolts from a tap underneath the bath. He handed her a toothbrush and a bottle of acid.
The acid spilled on the woman’s stomach area and the woman later said that Omer “created an environment of panic” before he left the bathroom to go to his car and returned to the bathroom with a cream.
He removed the woman’s leggings and applied cream to her vagina area before he also instructed her to remove her top.
The woman later reported to gardaí that Omer left his hand on her vagina for about three or five minutes before she got up and went into a bedroom. She reported the incident to both her sister and her mother that day.
She said Omer followed her into the room and told her “Look what you made me do? I wet myself”. The woman said at that time she didn’t understand that expression, as she was very innocent in terms of sexual matters. She now understands he meant that he had ejaculated.
The woman read from her victim impact statement that the sexual assault “still haunts me today and especially in the middle of the night”.
She said often thinks she should not have gone to the bathroom and she should have called her mother.
She said she couldn’t talk to anyone about the incident outside of her family and she feels a lot of shame.
“The memories will remain fresh to me,” the woman said before she agreed with Mr McCormack that she had never been examined in an intimate way before she was assessed at the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in the hospital following the incident.
She said she no longer trusts her own community and stays away from her local mosque.
Olan Callanan BL, defending, handed in a large number of testimonials on behalf of his client which spoke of his previous good character and the high regard he was held in within his community and his family.
He said Omer moved to Ireland from his native Pakistan in 2003 after seeking asylum here. He spent two years in Mosney, Meath before he was placed in direct provision in Louth. He moved to Lucan in 2008 with his family.
Counsel said his client had a number of medical issues before he added that the conviction has brought “great shame in his religion and community, more so maybe than other communities”. He asked the court to consider that he will be serving his time in prison as a foreign national.