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'It destroyed my life': Man who was raped by teacher as a boy seeks State enquiry

Denis Cronin was 11-years-old when he was sexually abused by his teacher.

Image: school image via Shutterstock

A MAN WHO was raped repeatedly over a six-month period as a child by a teacher in a State-run school has called for the government to apologise to him and explain how his abuser was allowed to have access to children.

Daniel Cronin was 11-years-old when he was sexually abused by teacher Denis O’Shea at the school in Cork. In 2000, O’Shea was sentenced to ten years in prison – he died in 2012.

Speaking to Neil Prendeville on Cork’s Red FM today, Cronin, now 30, said the teacher raped him in a locked classroom during his lunch breaks. He said O’Shea told him nobody would ever believe him if he told. His mother, however, noticed a change in him and he eventually opened up to her.

He said the abuse he suffered “destroyed my life”.

“I was a bubbly 11-year-old boy one day and all of a sudden I was spiralled into the world of an adult overnight. I didn’t have the normal teenage childhood years that kids should have. I was terrified of the dark, I became anorexic, I became severely depressed over the years.”

He was 13 at the time of the trial and he said this took its toll on him – particularly the cross examination he endured.

“I remember when he was sentenced I went to court, I saw him being led off in handcuffs and I suppose for a little boy at the time I was terrified and I was only a kid. Now I look back as an adult it was the best thing I’ve probably ever seen, justice in some ways was served for me.”

But Cronin still believes the State failed in its duty to protect him as a child. Another allegation had been made against the teacher – though the DPP in that case decided not to charge him. Cronin said he is aware of a number of other allegations against O’Shea that were not pursued, but that the authorities knew about.

He has arranged a meeting next week with Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin. Cronin said Martin promised his mother in 2002 that he would hold an enquiry into the school. Now he wants to know why this never happened and to push for one to be launched.

The 30-year-old said compensation is not at the top of the agenda – he wants recognition of the abuse he suffered and he wants an apology from the State.

Read: Investigation launched into allegations of serious abuse at centre for those with intellectual disabilities>

Read: Suicide, overdose, sudden infant death: Children who died while in contact with social services>

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