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Ex-Christian brother teacher convicted of molesting two boys gets 30-month jail sentence

One victim said he felt humiliated by his abuser and that the man had stolen his faith in God.

The pensioner was sentenced today.
The pensioner was sentenced today.
Image: PA

A FORMER CHRISTIAN brother school teacher convicted of molesting two boys in his classroom has received a prison sentence of 30 months.

The 70 year old man, who taught in a primary school in Kilkenny from 1975 to 1981, would put his hand down the back of the boys’ trousers and fondle their buttocks.

The defendant, who cannot be identified until other outstanding legal matters are dealt with, was convicted by a jury after a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last April.

He had pleaded not guilty to eleven counts of indecent assault on the two victims at various times during the school year from 1979 to 1980. The jury convicted him of seven counts and were unable to agree a verdict on four counts.

He was convicted of indecently assaulting one boy on two occasions. On the first occasion the man molested the child after he had asked him to stay behind and clean off the blackboard.

The man also molested the boy after he had called him up to the top of the classroom to read. The victim told the court that it had taken him 40 years to open up about the assaults which had a significant impact on his childhood and the rest of his life. 

He said the assaults left him believing there was something wrong with him. He said he was afraid to confide in his wife because he feared it would make him less of a person.

The second boy was also molested when he was brought up to read in front of the class and the court heard he estimated this happened up to 40 times in the school year up to June 1980.

This victim told the court that he went from being a happy care free child to an angry delinquent because of the assaults. He said he felt humiliated by his abuser and his anger led him to a life of bad decisions and crime.

“My anger has destroyed just about every relationship I have ever been in. He killed my ambition. The classroom became a battlefield and I realised none of my potential” he said.

 He said the defendant stole his faith in God because he couldn’t believe how a “man of the cloth” could do these things.

Judge Elma Sheahan said the offending was aggravated by the disparity in the age between the victims and the defendant, the breach of trust and the repeated offending. She said the public nature of the indecent assaults was also an aggravating aspect.

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She noted the mitigating factors included his long work history and his caring of more elderly members of his congregation during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Noting that the maximum penalty for this offence at the time was set at two years, she imposed an eight-month sentence on five of the seven counts.

She said it would be appropriate to make these consecutive to reflect the very significant harm done.

She then reduced this sentence of 40 months to 30 months to allow for the sentencing principles of proportionality and totality.

About the author:

Declan Brennan

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