Retired teacher and religious order sued over alleged sex abuse 60 years ago

The man has sued both his former teacher, and the religious order he is a member of seeking damages for the abuse he alleges he was subjected when he attended the primary school.
Retired teacher and religious order sued over alleged sex abuse 60 years ago

High court reporters

A man in his 70s has claimed before a High Court jury that he was sexually and physically abused by his then teacher, a member of a Roman Catholic religious order when he was a primary school student over 60 years ago.

The now retired teacher, who is now aged in his 90s denies the allegations, which he described as being "rubbish" and claims the alleged abuse "never happened."

The man has sued both his former teacher, and the religious order he is a member of seeking damages for the abuse he alleges he was subjected when he attended the primary school.

He claims that the order failed to protect him and allowed him to be abused. The teacher's order also denies all the man's allegations.

His action is being heard before a civil jury in the High Court, presided over by Mr Justice Alexander Owens.

National school

The man told the court that he was abused by his former teacher at a national school, run by the order, he attended during the late 1950s and 1960s.

The complainant said he was approximately six or seven years of age when the abuse occurred.

He said that on two occasions the teacher pushed him under his cassock and forced him to have oral sex, which are alleged to have taken place in the classroom and school's cloakroom after lessons had been completed.

He also said he remembered being in the teacher's bedroom at one stage.

He says that he was physically abused and assaulted by the teacher on occasions.

Counselling

He said that for a long time he blocked out the memories of what happened to him but said that he had suffered many personal difficulties throughout his life, including suffering from PTSD and being unable to be intimate with other people, self-loathing and suicidal thoughts, and could not understand why.

He attended counselling, but it was not until 2010 that he remembered what had happened to him at the school.

He has also claimed that he has flashbacks of being forced to perform oral sex.

He made a complaint to the Garda, but no prosecution was brought against the teacher.

Under cross-examination from Mark Harty SC the man denied that his claims against the teacher were mistaken or incorrect, or that that his memories of events were confused.

He accepted that it had been over 40 years after he left primary school and after many years of counselling before he remembered what he claims had happened to him at the school.

Teacher

In his evidence to the court the now retired teacher told his counsel Mr Harty that the allegations that he sexually abused the plaintiff were "rubbish".

He said that he had no memory of teaching the complainant, telling the court that he did not stand out.

He said that there were 50 students in the classes he taught at the school.

He also said that the man's claim that he was his teacher for three to four years is wrong, because typically teachers were moved to different classes at the school after two years.

He said that the allegation that he abused the plaintiff in the school's cloakroom was wrong, because students at the school were overseen by the school's principal when they left the classroom and entered the cloakroom and not any of the teachers.

He also said that he "never had any boy in his bedroom."

At the time of the alleged abuse, he said that building where the member of the order lived was separate from the school itself.

The teacher also told the court that as well as teaching thousands of students during his career, he had been involved in scouting for many years.

He said that the only allegation of sexual abuse ever made against him was the one being made by the plaintiff.

Under cross-examination the teacher said that he had "no idea" why the complainant had made the allegations against him.

He also said he had no recollection of administering corporal punishment to the plaintiff or any other boy he taught at the school in question.

The hearing continues.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more