Releasing unrepentant rapists like Paul Moore perpetuates an environment where the best we can offer women is the victim-blaming advice to 'be careful', writes Donal O’Keeffe

Paul Moore (52) is an extremely dangerous man. He is a serial rapist and it is only a matter of time before he attacks again. In and out of prison for the past quarter century, he has recently been released from prison and is now living in his apartment in Dublin’s Mountjoy Square.

In 1995, Moore attacked and raped a woman. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.

1n 2001, Moore attacked and raped another woman, a musician, and was sentenced to ten years in prison.

In August 2014, Moore engaged a woman in conversation on a Dart train and sexually assaulted her. Moore received a sentence of three years in prison, with 18 months suspended.

In January 2015, Moore engaged a woman in conversation on Gardiner Street, near his apartment, before sexually assaulting her. In May, 2015, he engaged another woman in conversation, this time at St Mary’s Place North, not 500 yards from his apartment, and sexually assaulted her. Moore received a 15 month sentence for the Gardiner Street and St Mary’s Place attacks.

Moore is currently out of prison and under curfew, and is not allowed to be drunk in public. Some time back, his neighbours in Mountjoy Square tried to buy him out of his apartment, but that attempt went nowhere. Moore looks older than his 52 years, but he is a fit man. He appears to have a limp, but he moves very quickly. He uses his limp to create an impression of vulnerability, and his modus operandi is to engage women in conversation, usually asking them to help him in some way, before assaulting them. 

The Probation Service has reported that Paul Moore has shown no remorse, has proven resistant to all efforts to rehabilitate him, and poses an indefinite danger to adult females. Judge Martin Nolan, sentencing him for the 2015 attack, said that Moore has a predisposition for violence towards women “which manifests as rape and sexual assault”.

Last year, Judge Melanie Greally, sentencing Moore for his 2014 attack, said that Moore’s inability to desist from offending, no matter what punishment was imposed, was a matter of real concern to the court. 

Paul Moore is a serial rapist, a very dangerous man who is driven by his hatred of women, and all evidence says he will attack again. The Evening Herald has done sterling work in warning the public that Moore is out of prison and interacting with the public. RTÉ’s Joe Duffy has brought Moore to national attention on Liveline, and he handled the subject with his customary decency and sensitivity, but one female friend told me she found one well-meaning aspect of Liveline‘s coverage disturbing.

“A common reaction to news about random attacks on women is to talk about measures that women can take to be safe,” she told me. “‘Don’t wear provocative clothing; don’t walk on deserted streets at night; have your keys in your hand and your mobile charged.’ 

“While the advice of a caller to Joe Duffy this week had to be taken seriously because she had been sexually assaulted by a random man on a street at night, nevertheless, this advice to women about shouting and running suggests somehow that this is women’s problem, and that a successful attack implies some failure on the part of the victim. Why should it be down to us to defend ourselves? 

“Civilized society is about not having to become your own personal vigilante. Men no longer carry swords or sticks for self-protection. Why shouldn’t women be safe to walk the streets without having to fight or anticipate attack?”

Last month, the Government approved draft legislation to provide for the electronic tagging of sex offenders once they are released from prison. Indications are electronic tagging would apply to offenders considered at high risk of re-offending.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear about electronic tagging, I think of Tony Soprano’s Uncle Junior, under house arrest, sitting on his haemorrhoid cushion. I also get an image of a team of dedicated police officers in a command centre, each one watching intently a huge electronic map.

Usually, the reality is a lot less high-tech.

The most commonly used form of electronic monitoring is radio-frequency (RF) monitoring, with an electronic tag fitted to a person’s ankle, and a small monitoring unit, about the size of a modem, installed in their home. This form of tagging cannot provide precise information on the location of an offender; instead it provides an alert if they are not within detection distance of the monitoring unit during a required time period.  

Global positioning technology (GPS) can be used in electronic tagging, and is what most of us imagine when we think of the term, but it is far more expensive and is therefore rarely used. Transdermal Alcohol Monitoring (TAM) is a newer form of monitoring, which might be applied to offenders like Moore, for whom alcohol is deemed a contributory factor to their offending.

However, the form of electronic tagging we use (RF) can tell us if Paul Moore is not in his apartment at 10pm, but it can’t tell us where he is, and it certainly can’t tell us if he’s on a Dart train and thinking about sexually assaulting a woman. 

The cost of monitoring electronically a prisoner has quadrupled since 2013, when it cost €15.54 per day, to its current rate of €64.72 per day. That still compares favourably with the daily cost of actually keeping that prisoner in prison, which works out at an average of €190 a day per prisoner. With around 4,060 prisoners in custody in our 13 prisons, each one of them costs approximately €69,421 per annum to keep behind bars.

Last year saw 42 prisoners monitored electronically, with seven of those fitted with devices. That is the highest annual total to date. 

Paul Moore is a serial rapist, a dangerous man driven by his hatred of women, and all evidence says he will attack again. An electronic tag which says he isn’t home by 10pm won’t make any woman safer.

We need to get serious about sentencing for sexual crime, and we need to make treatment for sex offenders mandatory. It’s really quite simple: If we continue to release men like Paul Moore, men who proudly resist all attempts to rehabilitate them, then we are wilfully creating the type of society where the best we can do for women is give them advice on how best to try and fight off an attacker, as though they bear the slightest responsibility for that attack.

What do men like Paul Moore have to do before we throw away the key? Unfortunately, of course, we all know the answer to that. They have to actually kill women. 

This is – for all that our most recent referendum changed – the measure of how Ireland values its female citizens.

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 24-hour national number is 1800 77 88 88.