Thursday, 31 March 2011

Gropes or kisses?

If you look for romance through a dating agency, you have to expect the unexpected. But a Donegal woman claimed she got a lot more than she had bargained for - that she was groped, assaulted and battered.

She was so incensed that she sued the Happy Matchmaker agency for €6000, alleging negligence, breach of duty and fraudulent misrepresentation.

Annmarie McBrearty complained that they hadn't vetted or screened any of her four "prospective suitors", which was why they had behaved so badly and physically molested her.

The district court judge however, having listened to all the evidence, decided that nothing out of the ordinary had occurred and that the men were no more than "unmannerly" or "over-enthusiastic". The worst that had happened was a kiss on the mouth.

So he threw out all the claims against the agency.

Which is puzzling. The judge didn't actually say he thought she was lying from start to finish, but that's the conclusion we're led to. Otherwise, why would he strike out all the claims?

Alternatively, was she in fact groped and attacked but the four men portrayed themselves as such innocent, considerate souls, and there was so little proof of anything untoward, that the judge simply couldn't believe what she said?

As it stands though, the result of the hearing suggests yet more false accusations of sexual violence by a dishonest woman with an ulterior motive. Which unfortunately creates yet more public suspicion of women who make genuine claims.

All in all, a case with disturbing repercussions.

32 comments:

Terra Shield said...

It might have been better to have lodged complaints about the men themselves instead of the agency?

Nick said...

Terra - I suspect that even if she had, they would still have come out whiter than white. Plus they probably wouldn't have €600 between them.

Wisewebwoman said...

They would ALL grope her? I find that extraordinary based on the law of averages. Or maybe the agency just advertises for just gropers?
I don't like to ever dismiss cases of assault as this judge so carelessly did.
But it does raise so many questions that hurts my head.
XO
WWW

Wisewebwoman said...

Oh sorry Nick I took the time to read the article and they weren't all gropers, in fact none of them were even the old wet tongue guy, why in the name of gawd did she kiss such a repulsive man?
She sounds disturbed dating him AGAIN!
XO
WWW

Grannymar said...

I wonder how she expected the men to behave? Do you think she lived on a diet of old Mills & Boon?

Nick said...

W3 - The judge seems to have given no explanation for rejecting the claims except for saying the men were merely "unmannerly". The implication is that she either lied or grossly exaggerated.

I agree, why on earth did she date him a second time when he had already been "verbally aggressive" and called her a fecking bitch?

Nick said...

Grannymar - Indeed. Let's face it, a woman who meets up with four completely unknown men has to be ready for a rough ride - or even a hasty getaway!

Baino said...

Ah it's a tangled web. I actually signed up for an online dating site thinking that emailing might be the way to get to know someone first but I didn't have the gumption to go through with any of the requests. As far as I know, none of the people on eHarmony are vetted, I certainly wasnt. The damage is of course that women who are genuinely assaulted are tarred with the same brush.

nursemyra said...

She sounds like a vindictive fool

Nick said...

Baino - As you say, women who really have been assaulted are in danger of being dismissed as liars.

Myra - Well, there's a refreshingly direct opinion. And who knows, you might very well be right.

newjenny said...

Male judges have a poor reputation in such cases, but, to judge from the article, the woman's case sounds quite unreasonable. I feel sorry for the agency. I really don't want 'vetting' and fear of lawsuits to damage another area of life. Any abuse was the fault of the men, not the agency; the risk was the responsibility of the woman.

Nick, you've got me writing like a correspondent to 'Any Answers'. you are my Radio 4.

meno said...

This doesn't bode well for my future.

Nick said...

newjenny - I suspect she sued the agency because they were more likely to have €6000 than the probably impecunious men. Keep those comments to Any Answers coming, folks!

Meno - Eh? Were you thinking of using a dating agency? Or suing one?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I think the agency has a responsibility to vett candidates for its services. The thing I find troublesome is that the lady apparently had the same issues with all four men, which seems most unlikely. And yes, unfortunately the judge's blanket dismissal of her claims will make it more difficult for women who are molested, raped, battered or otherwise abused to come forth and seek justice. And bad men will remain on the loose, posing a threat to other women.

Nick said...

Heart - Since there seemed to be no evidence at all that the men were behaving improperly, apart from what the woman claimed, I can only conclude that she wasn't telling the truth. But really it's anybody's guess.

Rummuser said...

I know a number of cases, including my son's where good relationships have been established through dating sites, and some have even resulted in marriage. I have not yet come across something like this, but I would not be surprised if it does over here too. I however am inclined to go with the judge's verdict in the absence of more information. My instinct tells me that there is something not quite above board in the suit from the lady.

Nick said...

Ramana - "Something not quite above board" sums it up nicely. There is such a huge discrepancy between what she says and what the men say.

Scarlet Blue said...

within the range of compatibility

I wonder what the range was.
From the article, I couldn't find what the men said about her.
It sounded like four very normal dates to me.
Sx

Scarlet Blue said...

The implication is that she either lied or grossly exaggerated

Why do you think that this is the implication, Nick?

Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - Exactly, the dates didn't sound particularly out of the ordinary. Which is why I think she was lying or exaggerating when she says she was groped and molested. But I could be completely wrong, the facts are far from clear.

Scarlet Blue said...

I think that's the way she uses language... slightly over dramatises things. She was obviously affronted by the experience. To her mind these things happened to her... I wouldn't call her a liar for the way she expresses herself.
Yes, she may have been exaggerating, but not necessarily deliberately.
The judge probably thought it was a storm in a tea-cup... she didn't even go on all 12 dates... and you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince... *cringe at my own sentence*
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - You could be right. It did occur to me that she was a rather sheltered soul who might well see a bit of enthusiastic kissing or fondling as "groping and assaulting".

Indeed, you have to plough through a lot of frogs before your prince (or princess) bursts forth.

Quickroute said...

Shame there wasn't more clarity in the verdict as you said no one knows the specifics and probably never will

Nick said...

Quickie - The judge failed to explain his decision properly, leaving us all playing guessing games.

Scarlet Blue said...

Was it the judge who failed to explain it properly or the news reporters?
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - I imagine it was the judge. I'm sure if he'd said "the defendant is obviously a persistent liar" or "she has clearly led a sheltered life" the reporters would have lapped it up.

Scarlet Blue said...

Supposition, Mr Nick!!!

Apologies, I'm being an awkward bugger today! Got to keep you on your toes....
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - Supposition indeed. What else have we to go on? And do be as awkward as you like, we might get closer to the truth!

secret agent woman said...

Honestly, I don't know what Blogger does with the comments I leave. I remember when I read it originally, it struck me that only one had done anything out of line, and hardly seemed suit-worthy. It's possible that she didn't get her money's worth if those were the only four guys they could find for her, but how can a dating agency know in advance that one of the guys will be a jerk? Seems like a risk in any dating situation. I've been on plenty of dates (WAY more than four) with men I've met on-line dating sites and nothing remotely like that has ever happened to me. I have not agreed to meet some men who gave me early clues that they'd be a problem.

Nick said...

Secret Agent - Sorry about that, Blogger is very temperamental sometimes. You're right, they don't seem to have been much out of line, just fairly standard dating behaviour. As you say, however careful they are, the agency can't predict exactly how a guy is going to come on.

wendy house said...

Alas. For me the tragedy of the decision is that the judge didn't call the woman a liar. effectively he condoned this sort of treatment of women - you get groped and abused - you're a woman, its to be expected. Women are institutiionally not awarded basic human rights. It is nothing less than a tragedy...

Nick said...

Wendy - He either condoned her lies by not suggesting they were lies, or he condoned harassment by trivialising it. A very unsatisfactory outcome. Indeed, women all over the world are still treated as second class citizens.