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Top Garda Denies Threats To Staff In School Sex Probe

Irish Independent By Tomas Mac Ruairi, Tuesday November 19 2002

A GARDA inspector has denied at the trial of a teacher accused of sexually abusing mentally handicapped youths at a special school that he threatened the future prospects of some other staff.

Inspector John O'Reilly denied in cross-examination by defence counsel Martin Giblin, SC, that he told the defence solicitor, John Devane, his sister had better watch her back or it would be burned.

Insp O'Reilly also denied on the eighth day of the trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court he had told the accused his children would be taken away from him and that he told him he should tell the truth and admit the allegations.

Insp O'Reilly further refuted Mr Giblin's assertion that he threatened another teacher at the Limerick school.

A 48-year-old married father of two from Co Tipperary, denies a total of four charges of sexual assault on two mentally impaired youths in Limerick, Clare and his own home, between September 1, 1994 and March 31, 1997.

The court has heard there were over 100 complaints of sexual abuse against staff at the school.

It was claimed one girl accused 31 people, another girl accused 17 and gardai received a letter signed by 44 members of staff complaining about the garda investigation.

The trial continues before Judge Yvonne Murphy.

- Tomas Mac Ruairi


Family's Relief As Teacher Is Acquitted Of Sex Abuse
Irish Independent,  November 27 2002

A CO Tipperary teacher has been found not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of sexually abusing two mentally handicapped youths at a special school in Limerick.

The jury returned its unanimous verdict after deliberating for nearly three hours on day 14 of the trial.

The 48-year-old married father-of-three had pleaded not guilty to a total of four charges of sexual assault on the two boys in Limerick, Clare and in his own home on dates between September 9, 1994 and March 31, 1997.

Two of the charges were withdrawn from the jury before it began its deliberations.

Judge Yvonne Murphy thanked the jury members for their work on the lengthy trial and excused them from any further service for five years. The man broke down in tears as the not guilty verdicts were read out to the court.

After the trial, his solicitor, John Devane, said he was delighted to see justice done.

"It's absolutely great," he said. "It's been going on now for five years and the man's wife and family have been left devastated by it. A lot of people have been greatly affected by it.

"The defence can't believe that this case was brought to trial.

"The children gave suggestable answers to suggestable questions, but they did not have trained professionals to interview mentally handicapped children.

"There are now tonnes of questions still to be answered, and I will be calling for an inquiry into the affair and the answers will have to be given in a public forum. There has been hundreds of thousands of pounds and euros put into an investigation that went nowhere.

"I'm pointing the finger at the State authorities. This was a travesty of justice waiting to happen. It has ruined the last five years of the man's life and he will spend the next five years putting it back together."

During the course of the trial the court heard that more than 100 complaints of sexual abuse against children were made at the special school.

One student made 31 allegations, while a second made 17.

Mr Devane told the court that an allegation of rape had even been made against himself when it emerged that he was defending the accused.