Woman says as teenager she was afraid to tell anyone because of man’s high profile
A former Cork politician today denied six counts of sexually assaulting a teenage girl at a number of locations in the city in the 1990s just two years after he served as Lord Mayor of Cork.
John Murray (83) of Gregg Road in Cork pleaded not guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to six counts of sexually assaulting the girl while in her early teens at four locations in the city on various dates between March 1996 and October 1998.
Mr Murray, a long standing member of the Labour Party in Cork, was first elected to Cork City Council in the 1985 local elections and re-elected in 1991 and two years later he was elected Lord Mayor of Cork under a pact between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.
Today, the complainant in the case told the jury of seven men and five men that she was first sexually assaulted by Mr Murray at a location in the city after he told her she was a beautiful girl and began kissing her lips and neck and groping her breasts.
The complainant, now in her 30s, told the court that two years ago, she and her parents and others confronted Mr Murray about the alleged abuse and that it was a very fraught encounter but that he did admit sexually assaulting her.
She was cross-examined by defence counsel, Alice Fawsitt SC, who said her client denied both the sexual assaults and ever making any such admissions. The woman said that there was never any need for Mr Murray to threaten her as she was afraid she would not be believed if she told anyone about what happened to her.
“I never said he threatened me, he didn’t have to, he intimidated me - he was a very high profile man, he had been Lord Mayor .... I was a child, I was scared,” said the woman, adding that it was only years later that she had the courage to speak about it.