Man on trial for indecent assault of boy scout in 1979 was 'absolutely horrified' when allegations were put to him

Defence senior counsel Siobhán Lankford asked the 63-year-old man how he felt when the 1979 allegations were first put to him in 2018 or 2019. He replied: “I was absolutely horrified. I just couldn’t believe it. It came completely out of the blue.” 
Man on trial for indecent assault of boy scout in 1979 was 'absolutely horrified' when allegations were put to him

There is a legal prohibition on identifying the parties in this case. Picture: iStock

The scout leader who denies indecently assaulting a boy scout in 1979 told a judge and jury he was absolutely horrified when the allegations were first put to him.

Defence senior counsel Siobhán Lankford asked the 63-year-old man how he felt when the 1979 allegations were first put to him in 2018 or 2019. He replied: “I was absolutely horrified. I just couldn’t believe it. It came completely out of the blue.” 

Prosecution barrister Dermot Sheehan asked him about the defence proposition that the complaint against him was all about money from the complainant’s point of view. He replied: “It is my opinion that there is money involved in this matter.” 

Sergeant Danielle Hegarty gave evidence at Cork Circuit Criminal Court of interviewing the accused. The interview took place at a garda station in Cork in 2019 – 40 years after the three alleged incidents of indecent assault.

Asked about the complainant he said he did not know him very well. When asked about the first allegation of fondling the ten-year-old boy scout’s genitals outside his clothing during a uniform inspection, he replied: “It never happened. I know nothing at all about it. I don’t think there were scout meetings in June. In a uniform inspection there would certainly have been no hands on… They (the boy scouts) were all lined up. I would not have been close to them when I carried out inspections.” 

Regarding the other two alleged indecent assaults – also related to alleged fondling outside the complainant’s clothing - on scout weekends away, he said: “It never happened… I have no idea (why the allegations would be made). It never happened. He never specified where or when… They are totally untrue and they never happened.” 

Asked generally if he had ever witnessed any sexual abuse occurring in the scouts, the defendant said he never had.

Witness

A friend of the complainant who knew him for many years and coached him in sport gave evidence of the complainant calling to his home in 1993 or 1994. The witness said he thought the complainant was looking for some advice but it turned out to be allegations against the defendant of sexual abuse and much more serious allegations of abuse against another scout leader.

The witness said: “The sexual abuse situation exploded out of him. That is the reason he came down to me. It was that there was sexual abuse. It was the first time, I’d say, that he had mentioned it. He was visibly upset, bawling crying. He was kind of haunted. It was just something he needed to get off his chest. It had been there for a while. I suggested he needed to get help and talk to the guards about it.” 

The defendant pleaded not guilty to three indecent assault charges at Cork Circuit Criminal Court and the trial continues 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 said the first alleged incident occurred during a uniform inspection, the second during wash-up chores in a kitchen and the third during a game on a sports pitch.

There is a legal prohibition on identifying the parties in this case.

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