Former garda is jailed for abusing young boys

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

A FORMER garda and scout master who abused a number of young boys over a six-year period during the 1960s has been sentenced to six months imprisonment.

A FORMER garda and scout master who abused a number of young boys over a six-year period during the 1960s has been sentenced to six months imprisonment.

John Joseph (Jack) Dunne, aged 82, of Cannon Breen Park, Thomondgate pleaded guilty to 14 counts of indecent assault on unknown dates between 1963 and 1969.

Last month Limerick Circuit Court court heard that two of Dunne’s victims were polio sufferers whom he recruited through his work with a group of disabled scouts.

Dunne, who was formerly attached to Pearse Street garda station in Dublin, indecently assaulted two of his victims at the garda station where he worked as a juvenile liaison officer.

The other indecent assaults took place at scout camps in Dublin and Waterford, and in his car after he dropped the boys home from scout meetings.

A native of Limerick city, Dunne was a scout master from 1953 to 1976 and was involved with a special group for disabled children at a scout hall near Pearse Street garda station.

Judge Carroll Moran was told the sexual abuse first came to light following the publication of the Ryan Report in 2009 when one of Dunne’s victim’s contacted gardai.

Dunne resigned from An Garda Siochana in 1976 when he was the subject of allegations of indecency. However no charges were brought against him at the that stage.

Imposing sentence this afternoon, Judge Moran said the breach of trust was a major aggravating factor in the case as was the fact the abuse continued over a number of years.

“He robbed these boys of their innocence. They have suffered severe trauma in their lives,” he said adding that too many cases of a similar nature are coming before the courts.

The judge noted there is low risk of Dunne reoffending as he participated in “intensive sexual therapy” in Chicago 20 years ago.

Despite, the antiquity of the offences, Judge Moran said he was compelled to impose a custodial sentence.

He sentenced the 82-year-old to two years imprisonment but suspended the final 18 months. “He will have to serve a sentence of six months to reflect the awful things he did,” said Judge Moran.

The defendant’s name was placed on the sex offender register for seven years.

Speaking afterwards, one of his victims, now aged 56, said he did not believe the sentence was long enough.

“I would like to have seen three or four years maybe - in prison not just suspended. I’m glad he got six months, at least he got something but six months seems a bit light to me,” he said.