A former Naval instructor in his fifties from Cork who slapped a new recruit on the buttocks, winked at her and said “You’re lucky it wasn’t 14 or 15 years ago” has been put on a probation bond and ordered to be of good behaviour.
Derek Nagle (56) resigned from the Navy following the assault which Cork District Court previously heard took place at lunchtime on March 1st, 2022. He subsequently pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of Seana O’Connor at Haulbowline Naval Base.
Earlier this year the court was told that Naval Officer Seana O’Connor was in the Billets room, which is the male living accommodation at the Naval Base in Haulbowline, Co Cork talking to a colleague when the incident occurred. Ms O’Connor waived her right to anonymity.
Mr Nagle of Kilmona in Grenagh, Co Cork was in the Navy for 37 years prior to his resignation.
Inspector Anne Marie Guiney told the court that Ms O’Connor was chatting to a male recruit when then Leading Seamen Nagle came in to room and shouted at heart. He said “What the f**k are you doing here.”
Inspector Guiney said that Ms O’Connor apologised and said she was getting something.
Mr Nagle sat on the bed beside her and began pulling her right arm back and forth while gripping her shirt.
“He put his right hand behind her back and pushed her forward. He put his other hand on the back of her neck pushing her further forward so that her face was towards the floor.
“At this point her backside came off the bed, and she was in a half-standing position with her top half bent over. Officer Nagle then proceeded to slap her across the left-hand side of her buttocks forcefully and said to her, ‘I thought you like it rough, O’Connor’, and repeated this a few times.
After the slap she fell to her knees. She then saw him pick up a bottle of water and believed he was going to throw it over her. She grabbed it off him and said, ‘F*** off, that’s enough now.’
As she was fixing her uniform he winked at her and said, ‘You’re lucky it wasn’t 14 or 15 years ago’.
Judge Marian O’Leary previously heard that a number of other Naval recruits saw the incident as they were in the room. The victim went to a higher superior officer about what had taken place and an investigation was launched by military police.
Ms O’Connor made a victim impact statement on February 28th at Cork District court in relation to the incident. She wasn’t present in court today.
During her victim impact statement Ms O’Connor, who is in her twenties, said she should be happy with the outcome of the case but that she felt ‘broken’ by what Nagle had done to her.
“We all have been through situations in our lives that try and test us and we move on and remain strong but there’s only so much one person can take.
After the incident happened I got up every day, put a face on, finished my branch training, passed my courses, moved onto the ship and had some amazing trips but inside I was breaking and still am.
“Every night for three to four weeks I had extreme nightmares, breakdowns and having to go to counselling service which the Irish naval service provides. I couldn’t thank them enough.
“But even with all of that I smiled every day, got on with my work and showed everyone that I was OK and in actual fact I’m not. A year on and I still would have nightmares.
“I know ten times worse could have happened to me – I do get that – but it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.”
Defence barrister, Ronan Barnes BL said that his client had given close to four decades of service to the State.
“He has absolutely nothing whatever remotely like this (previously against him).
His position in the Navy became untenable, he has resigned from the Navy. He was an instructor, and it was not appropriate for him to direct physical training.
He was interviewed and answered everything that was asked of him. Initially, he was not able to accept there was an indecent element (to the assault). He now accepts the injured party’s account entirely.
He instructs me to apologise sincerely to the injured party. It is a horrible thing to have happened. It should not have happened. He cannot give me any explanation. It seems to be an aberration after 37 years of service to the State.”
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Today (Tues) Judge O’Leary said that she had read a probation report in relation to the matter. Mr Barnes said that it was a “positive” report and Judge O’Leary agreed with him. She put Nagle on a probation bond of a 12 month duration.
This essentially means that Nagle needs to comply with the directions of the probation service for that period. He was ordered to be of good behaviour.The sentencing of the case was adjourned to today from last February.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800-77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.
In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.