The sister of Damien McGuinness, a Derry man accused of raping a woman in New York City, maintains her brother is innocent.
Speaking to the Irish Voice, his younger sister Mikayla McGuinness defended the allegations made against the New York bartender.
“Anyone that knows my brother knows he is innocent and decent bloke,” she told the Irish Voice.
Damien McGuinness (22) was arrested early last Thursday morning on charges of sexual assault against a female tourist who was visiting a friend in New York.
“My brother is such a gentleman. He would never harm anyone especially not in the way this tourist is accusing him. My family are distraught with this appalling news. It's so heartbreaking knowing that my big brother is stuck in jail and is being accused of being a 'rapist,'” she said.
“Hopefully this investigation is sorted out soon,” she concluded.
Family members of the Derry man have flown from Ireland to be by his side.
“His family has traveled from Ireland and they are here now,” his attorney, Brad Sage, told the Irish Voice.
Appearing in Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday, the case against McGuinness was adjourned until September 12, allowing the prosecution more time to investigate the allegations made against the Irishman.
Described by one co-worker as “a great guy and a great friend,” McGuinness, who works as a bartender in Dalton’s Bar and Grill in Hell’s Kitchen, faces first-degree rape charges.
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“They all love him here and we just hope he comes out of this, we want it all to end now,” a co-worker told the Irish Voice.
McGuinness remains in custody and had not posted bail of $5,000. He is being held at the Manhattan Detention Complex.
The Derry man has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman early Thursday morning, after his friend Brian Duddy, 24 and also from Ireland, had consensual sex with her in a Claremont Avenue apartment blocks from Columbia University in Manhattan.
"Anything that transpired was of a consensual nature," McGuinness’s court appointed public defender Sage told the judge in Manhattan Criminal Court last Friday.
According to prosecutors, McGuinness and Duddy had been socializing in an East Side bar with the alleged victim and her friend before the four proceeded to return to the other woman’s apartment, where the incident occurred.
"What started out as a consensual encounter between the defendant's friend and the complaining witness ended with the defendant raping (her)," prosecuting assistant district attorney John Temple told Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Anthony Ferrara last Friday.
Temple told the court the woman called police at 4:45 a.m. last Thursday morning soon after McGuinness and Duddy had left the premises. Both men were arrested in a subway station close by at 5:20 a.m.
Although Duddy was arrested he was later released, and prosecutors declined to comment on why the charges against him had been withdrawn.
McGuinness, a college student in Ireland, has been living in Queens. If he is able to post bail of $5,000 – prosecutors had sought a higher $25,000 bond - he will have to surrender his passport and license, though he told the judge that he recently lost both documents.