A 39 YEAR-OLD former cleaner in Glenstal Abbey school has been given an eight month suspended sentence for stealing money from pupils.
Caroline Moore, aged 39, of Cork Road, Newport appeared before Judge Eugene O’Kelly for sentencing at Limerick District Court this week. On April 19, Moore pleaded guilty to 20 charges of theft in 2010 and 2011. Sentencing was adjourned for payment of €800 in compensation.
Moore’s solicitor, Brendan Gill, said his client did not have the money due to her “dreadful financial circumstances”.
The thefts occurred while Moore was carrying out cleaning duties in dorm areas. Judge O’Kelly said because pupils who attend that school may be financially better off than in other locations, “it is no excuse to pilfer”.
“Parents are paying significant fees to attend that school and expect security, and be free of this petty theft,” said Judge O’Kelly. He noted that 19 of the charges relate to theft of monies.
“The actual loss to individuals is not so great – cumulatively it is €800. Except €230 from one young man and €115 from another. There is €40, €50, €90, €15, €20, €30, €25 and so on,” said Judge O’Kelly.
Mr Gill said Moore worked in the school for 10 years as a part-time cleaner before the offences occurred.
“She was earning €221 a week and received €160 a week lone parents allowance. The loss of the supplement when her son turned 18 was a catalyst for the charges,” said Mr Gill.
The solicitor said Moore was immediately dismissed and has been “essentially cut off by her family, and from the community due to her actions”.
“She is ashamed of the breach of trust. She would like to make restitution but simply isn’t in a position to do so. She has rendered herself unemployable,” said Mr Gill. Judge O’Kelly accepted Moore’s earning capacity has been reduced from loss of employment and lone parent allowance.
“She has been publicly humiliated in the village of Murroe. That itself is a punishment to her. She pleaded guilty to the matter.
“It is not appropriate for her to spend time in prison but she certainly will if she reoffends,” said Judge O’Kelly. He handed down two four month suspended sentences to be served consecutively for the theft of €230 and €115.