Cleric jailed over abuse at Limerick school

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Limerick Circuit Court
A CLERIC who abused six young boys while working as a teacher at a school in Limerick has been sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment.

A CLERIC who abused six young boys while working as a teacher at a school in Limerick has been sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment.

The 73-year-old was convicted last month of 30 charges relating to offences which happened on dates between September 1, 1978 and June 30, 1981. He was a member of a religious order at the time.

During a sentencing hearing this Monday, Judge John Hannan heard victim impact statements from five of the six victims, who are all aged in their 40s.

One of the men described how he couldn’t bring himself to hold his dying mother’s hand because of the abuse he suffered as a schoolboy.

Reading from his statement, he said his mother was a “strict Catholic” and that he directed all of his anger towards her.

“She was my enemy and I totally withdrew from any sort of relationship with her,” he said.

Imposing sentence, Judge John Hannan described the offences as “brazen and arrogant in their execution”.

He said the abuse was “disgusting and unnatural” and that as a “man of the cloth” the defendant should have known where his moral compass should have been pointed.

During the trial, the jury was told most of the offences involved inappropriate touching and fondling of the boys. In two instances, boys were forcibly kissed on the mouth by the defendant.

One of the men who was kissed by the accused said he has difficulties with intimacy as result of the abuse.

“I had my first kiss as a twelve year old boy from a man who was 38. I am now 47 and find myself being afraid again of a small 73 year old man,” he said in his victim impact statement.

Another man said he constantly fears for the safety of his own son.

“I do not trust anyone to look after him apart from his grandparents and my wife. As a result he has not and never will have a babysitter and has not and never will experience a sleepover and rarely has any social contact with his friends outside of school,” he said.

Judge Hannon imposed sentenced totalling 40 months suspending half the sentence for five years.