A former teacher has been remanded in custody for sentencing after being found guilty of more than 40 counts of indecently assaulting pupils at a primary school in Limerick.
The man, aged 80, who cannot be named to protect the identities of his victims, had denied a total of 43 counts of indecent assault on several of his former pupils.
He denied their claims that he had touched their genitals and rubbed their bodies underneath their clothing, at the school, on dates between the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Following a trial at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court last Friday, a jury of eight men and four women returned unanimous guilty verdicts in respect of all 43 counts.
During the trial, the victims gave evidence the defendant would put his hands up inside their clothing and rub their bodies.
The man preyed on the pupils in the classroom, in a boiler/heater room, and in a bathroom at the school.
One victim gave evidence that the man molested him on an almost daily basis.
He said the defendant would approach him from behind, put his hands down the boy’s trousers or up inside his shirt, and touch him.
“I didn’t want him to do it, but what could you do, he was the teacher, I was only 11,” the victim said.
Under cross-examination from the man’s barrister, the victim agreed that when he gave his statement to gardaí he did not immediately tell them the man had touched his penis.
The victim told the barrister he had given his statement to a “lady detective” and that he was “ashamed” to tell her every detail of what the man had done to him.
“How could you feel comfortable with saying that. The [defendant] wrecked my whole life, I was on drugs because of him, I tried to commit suicide four times,” the victim told the man’s barrister.
Another victim gave evidence there had been a “nervous” atmosphere in the classroom, and the defendant would touch his genitals “once or twice a day, during the school year”.
“Sometimes he’d sit next to you, rub us over our clothing or under our clothing, either my penis or my bum, maybe once, twice a day,” said the witness.
The man was remanded in custody for sentence at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court on June 11th.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.
In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.