A Commonwealth boxer-turned-Olympic and bronze medalist has been sentenced to probation and community service after admitting to sexually assaulting a woman.
When Ballymena Magistrates Court heard that Steven Donnelly was hoping to resume his professional boxing career, the 34-year-old was also ordered to put himself on the police sex offenders register for five years.
District Judge Nigel Broderick imposed a combined order of 18 months probation and 100 hours of community service, saying of his previous convictions for violating a non-harassment order: “That, to my mind, belies a certain attitude you seem to have in dealing with women. ”
“This was clearly totally inappropriate behavior and you were drunk, but that in no way excuses what you did,” the judge told Donnelly.
Donnelly, of Dunfane Park in Ballymena, had admitted to sexually assaulting the woman and behaving in a disorderly manner at licensed premises on October 9 last year.
The court heard yesterday that despite being banned from Fairhill Bar, Donnelly went to the bar twice that night.
A prosecutor described how Donnelly “thrust his penis toward the woman” the first time he was led out of the bar, but he returned a few hours later.
This time, Donnelly grabbed the victim’s upper inner thigh and squeezed his hand toward her groin as he lifted her off the floor, “screaming and sweating aggressively.”
In an incident recorded by CCTV, DJ Broderick revealed other customers tried to step in to help the woman and after Donnelly was out again he was later arrested and questioned but refused to answer police questions.
Defense attorney Sean Mullan said the incident was “a matter of immense regret” for Donnelly, adding that the boxer “has substance abuse issues, particularly alcohol.”
“He’s represented his country at both the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games,” said the lawyer, “he’s been in the public eye and that can be an unforgiving place.”
Mr Mullan lamented that the end of a long-term relationship had sparked the previous convictions for violating an NMO and said Donnelly could “potentially return to the professional boxing ring”.
While DJ Broderick said he would follow the parole report’s recommendation for a combination order, he warned Donnelly, who appeared in court in a parka coat and ripped jeans, “it’s not without hesitation,” and if he violates any aspect of it, he will he’ll be back in court, only to be retried and possibly face jail time.
Donnelly represented Northern Ireland at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, winning bronze medals at both the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games welterweight and the 2018 Gold Coast middleweight division.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/irish-olympic-boxer-given-probation-and-community-service-for-sex-assault-on-woman-in-bar-42223732.html Irish Olympic boxer sentenced to probation and community service for sexually assaulting woman in bar