Garda sergeant who sexually abused young woman in her bed sentenced to five months in prison
A sergeant who sexually abused a young woman in her bed after spending the night with his colleagues has been sentenced to five months in prison.
Athal Middleton, 42, who was based in South Dublin, denied the charges but was convicted after a trial in Dublin District Court last year.
The sexual assault happened on March 2, 2020 at an address in Lucan and he was suspended after being charged.
The Garda sergeant will now be placed on the sex offenders’ register for a period of at least seven years, with his defense attorney saying he “is likely to lose his job”.
He was released immediately after appealing and walked hand-in-hand with his wife from the Blanchardstown Courthouse.
Today the court heard he was out with colleagues in the evening before returning to a home in Lucan where he stayed on the couch.
He later went into the victim’s bedroom, which hadn’t gone out that night, and sexually assaulted her.
As the young woman read her victim impact statement in court, she wiped away tears as she recounted the incident and the damage it caused.
She asked if the defendant ever thought about what he did, if he had any remorse and if it haunted him the way it haunted her, adding: “It has taken me to a dark place in my life. “
She said the sexual assault affected every aspect of her life, including her confidence, self-esteem, relationships and career.
“For so long I’ve struggled and struggled with myself as to why I didn’t scream louder that morning, but it’s hard to scream when you’re frozen in fear. I understand now
“I was at home in my room, in my bed, sober, asleep. None of that should matter, but somehow it still does.
“For the past two years and 10 months, I’ve struggled with what you’ve done and struggled daily to keep going,” she said.
Sgt. Middleton kept his head bowed as the victim addressed the court, holding a child’s stuffed animal.
The young woman continued: “You climbed into my bed this morning as if you knew me, as if you had a right to be there.
“You pressed your body against mine and told me it was going to be okay.
“Have you ever thought about the anxiety I felt when I never knew how long you were in my bedroom before I woke up, what you were doing while I was sleeping.
“So many questions race through my head that I will never get an answer to. I wake up undressed in my bed and you tell me everything will be fine.
“How could it ever be good. It wasn’t supposed to be me, but it was me.”
The court was told that Sgt. Cathal Middleton is married to a four-year-old girl and that his wife and parents were on trial to support him.
He joined the Gardaí in 2002 and was promoted to Sergeant in 2018.
His defense attorney said he was suspended over the incident and “will in all likelihood lose his job.”
The court was told that Sgt. Middleton had not previously appeared in court and asked pardon that he was of previous good character.
In delivering his verdict, Judge David McHugh said he had to consider the victim, including the suffering and severe psychological damage suffered.
The breach of trust associated with this was significant, taking into account the “other incidental matters” that could arise for the accused.
The judge said he was satisfied the justice of the case could be met with a five-month prison sentence.
Cathal Middleton looked at his family members and shook his head after the verdict was announced.
Prosecutors said he would be placed on the sex offenders’ registry by law for a period of seven years.
After the conclusion of the proceedings, the accused immediately appealed and was released on bail of 300 euros.
He walked hand in hand with his wife from the court.
In a statement, Garda headquarters said: “An Garda Síochána does not comment on matters before the court. An Garda Síochána does not comment on internal disciplinary matters related to named persons.
“A Garda Síochána can confirm that a male Garda serving in the Dublin area was suspended from duty in June 2020 in connection with an investigation into an alleged sexual assault.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/garda-sergeant-who-sexually-assaulted-young-woman-in-her-bed-sentenced-to-five-months-in-prison-42316452.html Garda sergeant who sexually abused young woman in her bed sentenced to five months in prison