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Gerard O'Brien Paddy Cummins

Former judge likely to face custodial sentence for sexual abuse of young men

One victim said in his statement that O’Brien “betrayed me to my inner core”.

A FORMER CIRCUIT Court judge has been told he is likely facing a custodial sentence after being convicted of the sexual abuse of six young men almost 30 years ago. 

Gerard O’Brien (59) of Old School House, Slievenamon Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, was convicted last December at the Central Criminal Court of one count of attempted anal rape and eight counts of sexual assault in relation to six victims.  

The offences occurred at locations in Dublin between March 1991 and November 1997. O’Brien was a teacher at a Dublin secondary school and was aged between 27 and 33 at the time. The victims—four of whom were his students or former students— were then aged between 17 and 24.

The six victims have previously indicated they wished for O’Brien to be named but to maintain their anonymity.

Justice Alexander Owens today said his provisional view is that he will impose a custodial sentence when he finalises the case on 29 May next.

He asked for a report from the Irish Prison Services in relation to the facilities that would be available to O’Brien and remanded him on continuing bail until the next date.

O’Brien pleaded not guilty to all the allegations. He resigned as a Circuit Court judge in January, having been appointed to the position in 2015.

Garda Inspector Jonathan Hayes told Anne Marie Lawlor SC, prosecuting, that five of the six victims woke up to find O’Brien performing sexual acts on them that they had not consented to. Of these victims, four woke to O’Brien performing oral sex on them, with the fifth saying he woke to O’Brien licking his face and pressing his penis against his buttocks.

One of these five victims also said O’Brien attempted to rape him anally. The final injured party’s allegation related to an act of masturbation in the toilets of a pub.

Three victim impact statements were submitted to the court.

One victim said in his statement that O’Brien “betrayed me to my inner core”.

O’Brien was born with a rare congenital condition, Phocomelia, a side effect of the drug Thalidomide. During the trial, O’Brien said in evidence that his mother was “convinced” she took the drug.

This condition resulted in O’Brien being born with no upper limbs and missing one lower limb. The court heard he requires assistance with everyday tasks, including toileting. He has no previous convictions.

O’Higgins asked the court to take into account all relevant mitigating and personal circumstances when determining a sentence.

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