Danny Foley: jailed for seven years

THE Kerry woman who was sexually assaulted by Danny Foley is considering taking a civil action against her attacker after his supporters spent the past week calling her a "so-called" victim despite the fact he was unanimously convicted in court.

At a press conference in Tralee yesterday, the 23-year-old woman vowed that she would not be driven out of her home town despite being intimidated by friends of Foley who is now serving a five-year prison term.

His victim is now seeking advice about launching a civil action for mental distress against 35-year-old Foley and some of his supporters, sources close to her told the Sunday Tribune.

Several of them went on radio last week labelling the woman a "so-called victim" and referring to the sex assault as an "alleged assault".

Foley was jailed for seven years with the final two suspended after being found guilty of sexual assault behind a nightclub in Listowel in 2008. Before he was taken to prison, around 50 of his supporters queued up to shake his hand.

Listowel parish priest Fr Sean Sheehy was forced to stand down after he provided Foley with a character reference and went on local radio following Foley's sentencing and spoke of the "alleged assault".

Speaking to the Sunday Tribune Danny Foley's brother, Tim said it was a "disgrace" that Fr Sheehy had to resign.

"We're absolutely devastated. We never would have allowed him to make a statement about Danny if we knew there would be this backlash. It's a disgrace. He's a great priest, a lovely man and a good friend of Danny's. It's been a tough week for the clergy and rightfully so. He just gave his opinion on a good friend of his. Danny is extremely upset in the prison tonight knowing what's happened to Fr Sheehy."

However, speaking at a press conference yesterday, Foley's victim said that while she could never forgive him, she did not hate him.

"I never hated Danny, I always considered him a friend. I am hurt. I can never forgive him for what he has done, but I can never hate him. I've cried myself to sleep every night since the trial. But I said no, and no means no. I'd do it all again [the trial] if I had to."

The mother-of-one said that she had felt intimidated in court. She said that some of the group of 50 people who shook his hand gave her "dirty looks" and were "staring at me". She said she felt intimidated and has since been refused service in the chip shop where Foley worked.

"I fought that night and I'm still fighting today even though he was found guilty… People are entitled to believe he is innocent if they want, but they weren't there that night. Danny Foley has got five years of his life taken away. He's taken the rest of my life away, for that I can never forgive him. I know Danny Foley for nine years. To me he was the person that everyone says he was. I trusted and felt comfortable with him. But for him to turn around and do that I don't think I can ever trust him again."