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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 4 April, 2020

Former Christian Brother jailed for a year for sexual assault of teenager in 1981

The assailant had nine previous convictions.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A FORMER CHRISTIAN Brother, who is a serial sex offender with nine previous convictions for indecently assaulting boys, was jailed for a year today for his abuse of a 14-year-old boy at a school in Cork.

Edward Bryan, 67, of Dugort, Achill Island, County Mayo, had pleaded guilty to the single charge of indecent assault of the teenager at North Monastery School in Cork between November 1 and December 31 1981.

The victim told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that he was a sports-mad youngster who was approached by then Brother Bryan as he played hurling. He asked the teen to join basketball training. 

When he arrived at the school gym he was the only student present.

He said that Br Bryan watched him put on a tracksuit and when he was doing push ups he got on top of him and sexually assaulted him.

In a victim impact statement, the victim said that his life changed forever that day. He recalled doing his Inter Certificate exam in the gym hall where he was sexually assaulted.

He failed the exam – such were his feelings of paralysis at being in the same room where he was indecently touched. 

“I froze with fear and nervousness and failed my exam. I sat looking at the wall watching the time ticking by – the same clock. I still remember the musty smell of the habit he wore.

“I remember everything as if it was yesterday – to my shame, I covered up what was done to me. I was a nervous wreck at school. I was worried if he ever became my teacher. I wasn’t listening in class. I went from a bright and happy young man to a completely different person.

“I gave up my beloved hurling club because I couldn’t get changed in front of other people. I had to lie to my parents.

“I sometimes wonder how my life would have turned out if I hadn’t been abused. My mother thought she was sending me to a good school.”

Judge Brian O’Callaghan was told of Mr Bryan’s nine previous circuit court convictions for indecent assaults on males. They all related to incidents at the North Monastery school in Cork in the 1980s. 

Brendan Kelly, barrister for Bryan, said his client was genuinely remorseful for his abuse of boys in the 1980s.

Mr Bryan apologised to the victim for his actions. He said he never thought he was capable of such acts.

“There are no words to take back what happened. I cannot take back the past. I hope my apology will give you some comfort.”

Judge O’Callaghan said he was most impressed by the victim impact statement in the case. He stated that it was “quite profound” and indicated the “mind of a fine person”.

He said the young man had had his youth stolen from him. He jailed Mr Bryan for two years suspending the last 12 months of the sentence.

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About the author:

Olivia Kelleher

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