Scout leader found not guilty of indecently assaulting boy in 1979 at Cork court

The jury reached a unanimous decision in respect of each of the three charges
Scout leader found not guilty of indecently assaulting boy in 1979 at Cork court

Judge Elva Duffy said the 63-year-old was free to go. The judge made an order at the outset of the case that none of the parties could be identified.

A scout leader who denied indecently assaulting a boy scout in 1979 has been found not guilty on all three charges against him at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge Elva Duffy thanked the five women and seven men of the jury. They reached a unanimous decision in respect of each of the three charges.

Defence senior counsel Siobhán Lankford said there was nothing further against the accused man. 

Judge Duffy said the 63-year-old was free to go. The judge made an order at the outset of the case that none of the parties could be identified.

The complainant 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 – all three during scout gatherings.

The accused man chose to give evidence – something which he was not required to do – and he described how he felt when the allegations were brought to his attention in 2019: “I was absolutely horrified. I just couldn’t believe it. It came completely out of the blue.” 

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 discreet 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.” The accused man said it simply did not happen.

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.

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