A former Christian brother found guilty of 38 counts of indecently assaulting boys in October has been sentenced to five years in prison.
The man, whose name cannot be released to protect the identity of his victims, was found unanimously guilty after a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court deliberated for four hours and 26 minutes.
The former Christian brother was described by one of the victims in his victim statement as “the epitome of evil”.
The court heard the man was convicted of indecently assaulting five boys in the late 1970s when the boys were then nine and ten years old.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges. He has seven prior convictions, all for lewd assault.
Garda Sergeant James Neary told Patrick McGrath SC, the prosecution, the accused was a Christian brother who was tutoring all five boys at the time of the attacks.
Gda Stg Neary said the man called the first victim to his desk, which was on a pedestal at the top of the classroom.
The boy was brought to the desk under the guise of reading practice.
He was instructed to sit on his teacher’s lap or stand next to him. The defendant would then touch the boy’s genital area and bare bottom.
The court heard that the man stuck his finger in the boy’s anus three times.
This victim was also forced to touch the defendant’s penis and masturbate him.
This happened on one occasion when they were in a school gym and the rest of the class was playing in a different area.
The Christian brother approached the second victim as she sat at his desk.
He got behind him and rubbed his back.
Then he pressed his hands to the back of the boy’s pants. This happened five or six times and the boy tried to push him away.
The third victim was also called to the Christian brother’s desk, where he had to practice reading aloud.
The boy would know what was going to happen and would do his best to stand as far away from the suspect as possible.
The boy was then pulled towards him by the man and he put his hand down the boy’s pants and under his underwear.
This would happen regularly. The boy would flee as quickly as possible.
The fourth victim was called to the desk and sat on his knee.
The defendant put one arm around the boy’s waist and he slipped his other hand into the boy’s underwear and rubbed his penis.
The first time the boy froze, the second time he tried to turn and get away.
The final victim was at his desk when the Christian brother stood behind him, pulled the boy to him, put his hand down the boy’s pants and touched his bottom.
Three victim testimonies were presented to the court.
One victim read his own statement while the prosecutor read the other statements.
One statement read: “I was scared, ashamed and felt alone in a class of 40.”
He also said he “couldn’t trust anyone for decades,” adding, “When you abuse a child, it doesn’t end with you taking your hand off their pants.”
Another victim said the abuse left him with “trust issues, particularly with those in positions of power” and “anxiety issues.” He said, “It has had a lifelong effect on me.”
The third victim’s impact statement said: “All the old memories came back to me when I spoke to Gardaí. For the past three years, my anxiety has been at its worst. He is the epitome of evil.”
Agreeing with Ronan Kennedy, SC, Gda Stg Neary defended that the man was living outside of Ireland when the complaints were lodged with Gardaí and that he voluntarily returned for an interview.
Mr. Kennedy submitted many documents to the court detailing his client’s health problems.
A prison warden’s report was also presented to the court, highlighting the man as an excellent prisoner.
Character references were provided to the court by two of the defendant’s friends, each of whom has known him for more than 50 years.
The letters describe him as someone who acted selflessly in dealing with others and as a person who was honest and trustworthy.
Two former students also wrote character references on the man’s behalf, describing him as a teacher distinguished by his care and support.
The attorney said all those providing character references knew the defendant had been convicted of indecent assault.
Judge Elma Sheahan said in sentencing today: “This offense has impacted every aspect of these men’s lives.”
Judge Sheahan said she had to consider the “deep excitement and distress of these adult men and the content of their victim impact statements.”
The judge said the aggravating factors in the case were the seriousness and repetition of the offence, the breach of trust and the age difference between the man and the victims.
The judge also emphasized that the man held a position of authority and the breach of trust that was committed.
Judge Sheahan considered the following mitigating factors before sentencing; the man’s medical problems, the governor’s report stating that he was a model prisoner, his cooperation with gardaí throughout the inquest, and the character references presented to the court.
Judge Sheahan sentenced him to five years and 11 months, with the last 11 months suspended.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/former-christian-brother-convicted-on-38-counts-of-indecently-assaulting-young-boys-jailed-for-five-years-42231317.html Former Christian brother convicted on 38 counts of indecent assault on boys jailed for five years