A man who entered the female toilets in a Cork secondary school during the State exams and spoke to a Leaving Certificate student in a sexual fashion while unzipping his trousers has been jailed for ten months.

40-year-old Tadhg Hopkins, of the halting site, Nashe's Boreen, Fairhill, Cork, pleaded guilty to a number of charges including that he trespassed at Scoil Mhuire College on Sidney Place in Cork City on 6 June.

Two other charges stated that Hopkins intentionally engaged in offensive conduct of a sexual nature.

Cork District Court was told that the defendant entered the school premises on Wellington Road at 1.40pm on 6 June where he spoke to two girls in an elevator in the school. 

The content of his conversation was sexual and suggestive in nature.

He then left the elevator and went into the ladies toilet where he confronted the Leaving Cert student as she came out of one of the cubicles.

The court was told that Hopkins did not force or attempt to force any party to engage in any physical activity.

Detective Sergeant Kieran O'Sullivan said that Hopkins had followed people entering a secure area of the school and it was possible it was thought he was an examiner present for the exams.

Det Sgt O’Sullivan said Hopkins had 101 previous convictions, none for offences of a sexual nature.  He had 13 assault convictions, including two for causing harm.

Defence solicitor Frank Buttimer said his client had a significant, long-standing difficulty with alcohol, although he was not greatly under its influence when he visited the school on the day in question.

He said his client was sorry for what he did.

Judge Olann Kelleher said: "This young lady was starting her Leaving Cert.  It is not what you hope to deal with when doing a State exam and it had such consequences for her".