A FORMER Christian Brother who worked at Sexton Street in the late 1960s would fondle young boys as he taught the rest of the class, Limerick Circuit Court has heard.
Sean Drummond, 65, of Broadford Drive, Ballinteer, Dublin 16, pleaded guilty to two sample counts of indecent assault against a 10-year-old pupil at the primary school during the year 1968-69.
The victim, who went on to work as a teacher himself, described in an impact statement how his relationships had suffered and how he had tried to take his own life at the age of 21 as a result of sexual abuse he suffered while at Sexton Street.
The events had “stayed with me all my life” and “I have never forgotten his [Drummond’s]name or face”.
Prosecuting counsel John O’Sullivan BL said Drummond would bring pupils to school on a Saturday – for what purpose the victim no longer remembered – and would place his victim’s hand on his erect penis under his soutane but over his clothing.
The victim described how the former Christian brother would sit on the pupil’s desk and turn him around to face his classmates. He would touch the victim around the torso and pull him back towards him against what he now understood was Drummond’s erect penis. Drummond would continue to teach the class while this was happening, the victim told gardai. The victim also described instances where Drummond would call him to the teacher’s desk at the front of the class and fondle his private parts, again over his clothing. This would be done while the rest of the class was doing school work.
Br Drummond, as the accused was then known, was “somebody capable of administering corporal punishment of a severe nature” and “on other occasions fondling in a sexual way”, something which had confused his young victim, said Mr O’Sullivan.
Drummond was sentenced to two years in prison in December 2009 for 36 counts of indecent assault against 18 boys at Creagh Lane National School on Bridge Street, another school run by the Christian Brothers in Limerick city. These offences had occurred in 1967-68 at a time when Drummond himself was not out of his teens, his barrister Anthony Sammon SC noted.
Drummond had left Limerick is February 1970 and left the religious order a month later. He had gone on to work at a library in UCD. He had married and had five grown-up children.
Mr Sammon said in respect of Sexton Street offences that the injured party had only made a complaint after Drummond had been sentenced to two years in prison for the events at Creagh Lane, a case which the barrister noted had attracted considerable publicity. He had come out of prison only to discover another prosecution against him “was in train”.
Drummond, Mr O’Sullivan noted, had told gardai he did not know the victim and “emphatically denied indecent assault”.
The accused had changed his plea to guilty this Wednesday only after a jury had been sworn in the previous day. But Mr O’Sullivan had acknowledged this plea had been helpful to the prosecution given deficiencies in documentary evidence. Records showing that Drummond had not begun teaching at Sexton Street until the year after the abuse took place squared with the accused’s version of events to gardai.
Mr Sammon said his client had begun his formation to be a Christian brother at the age of 14 and had thus entered an environment where “the suppression of sexuality” was commonplace. “Not convinced of his vocation”, Mr Sammon added, Drummond had left the order at 22.
The barrister appealed to Judge Carroll Moran not to again jail somebody who had already served a sentence “for a similar type of offending” at Creagh Lane a year earlier.
Judge Moran said the victim impact statement had set out “devastating and traumatic circumstances arising from the abuse” and that Drummond had abused his position of trust.
“The abuse of children was not uncommon in Ireland 40 years ago and more but is now rightly regarded as a horror and a prison sentence, even on a plea of guilty, is the usual outcome even for events which happened so long ago,” the judge said.
But he agreed with Mr Sammon that he had to consider that Drummond had already served a sentence for similar offences that occurred in close proximity in time.
He also noted a report that described Drummond as being at a low risk of reoffending and the importance of the plea as acknowledged by the prosecution.
Drummond was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years, and is to remain on the sex offenders register for the next five years.