A scout leader in 1979 has been put on trial by judge and jury in Cork where he denied three charges of indecently assaulting a boy scout who was aged around 10 or 11 that summer.
The defence alleged that the complaints are untrue and suggested, “This is about money.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty to three indecent assault charges at Cork Circuit Criminal Court and the trial commenced before Judge Elva Duffy and a jury of five women and seven men.
The complainant testified, “Every time I would encounter (defendant’s name) he would fondle me with his hand on my genitals. Every time he would see me he would do it with that smile which was quite disarming. He was not discrete about it whatsoever.
“It was always brief and fleeting – a few seconds at a time. He seemed quite happy, quite friendly, it seemed like the normal thing to do. He would have said some things – compliments maybe but I don’t remember the specifics.
“I knew it was not right. I did not feel comfortable but not enough to run away and make a complaint.
“He would do it in such a regular way, it just happened all the time like this normal thing to do, you just became immune to it. They (alleged indecent assaults) just all blended into one another. It was just so regular. It was definitely happening all the time. He would do it every time you were close to him having little fear … he fondles you with his hand, a few seconds each time. Every time I would see the man he would fondle me.
“At the time I just thought it was normal. After a number of months I developed a strong dislike about attending the scouts because I felt it was not right.”
On the question of the defendant’s demeanour during the alleged indecent assaults, the complainant said, “He was pleasant, never aggressive. It never seemed forced.”
Siobhán Lankford senior counsel said that the complainant was suing the defendant for compensation, had sued another scout leader and had sued the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland. The complainant confirmed the taking of these civil actions.
Ms Lankford said, “Can I suggest this is about money?”
He replied, “How else can the law compensate? They cannot undo what was done. This is about justice. I want people to see this is what the scouts was like.”
The defence senior counsel then said, “What you are telling the jury is not the truth… He did not touch you in plain sight of other people.”
He replied, “In plain sight and in private.”
Ms Lankford repeated, “These events did not take place in the manner described or at all.”
Ms Lankford said during cross-examination that in other documents related to other complaints made by the complainant against another man, the defendant in the present case was not mentioned. She said the defendant in the previous case was mentioned singularly.
The complainant said that what the defendant in the other case did to him was much more serious than the actions of the defendant in the present case. “You are talking about an atomic bomb as against a grenade in terms of damage,” he said.
There is a legal prohibition on identifying the parties in this case.