A student says she thinks she may have dodged a bullet when she was turned down for accommodation in a house in Cork City.
Clíona has been telling Tipp Today she had arranged to view a room in a house where a man she’s calling ‘Tom’ was living.
She says she liked the room very much and had agreed to take it when she started to get very inappropriate messages from him, suggesting that he wanted something other than money in exchange for the room.
Clíona said she was refused the room when she turned him down:
“I suppose I kind of brushed it off a bit… He kind of started pressuring me further, making more and more “romantic” offerings to me, saying that we’d be in rooms next to each other and that I’m very beautiful.
“… I actually found out then that I didn’t get the room and I’d say it was because I rejected him. I suppose it was a blessing in disguise as well because, at the time I was getting these strange messages off him, I thought ‘God, I’ll be locking my room every night if I’m sleeping next to this guy who’s kind of a bit of a predator.'”
Former MEP and midwife from Tipperary, Phil Prendergast also used to teach sex education in schools.
She has praised Clíona for having the wherewithall to turn him down and says this kind of exploitative behaviour always needs to be reported:
“You know, the expectation there that, even if he’s offering the room at a lesser rate, that you would have sex with him as part of the payment, is just outrageous.
“Of course it’s an exploitation of the rent situation and how much young people have to pay for rent now for college. But it’s a huge violation.”
Clíona also told Fran on Tipp Today that she’s since come to know of another girl he did the same thing to:
“She was 19 and she was looking for a house as well. But he actually made some more serious requests of her – asking her for sex, asking her if she was a virgin, using expletives when he was talking to her… really, really inappropriate ways of asking her for sex.
“She actually posted it online, on the accommodation page on Facebook, outing him. And a lot of other girls came forward saying, ‘yes, I have been approached by this ‘Tom’, who’s 32, and he has been saying these things to me.'”
You can listen back to Clíona’s full interview below: