Man in court on indecent assault charge

Tuesday 08 February 2011 18.17
Court - Man accused of abusing student
Court - Man accused of abusing student

A Sligo native has told a jury that his former teacher's ongoing abuse of him as a child has left him with ‘memories that won't fade’.

‘I felt so annoyed with myself that I didn't stop it. I am always washing and scrubbing myself, it feels like someone is crawling all over me,’ the complainant told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The man was giving evidence on the first day of the trial of a former Marist brother and primary school teacher who is charged with indecently assaulting him at a Co Sligo school almost 30 years ago.

The 67-year-old accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty to 16 charges of indecent assault of the then eight-year-old boy on dates between 5 September 1972 and 30 June 1977.

Ms Mary Rose Gearty SC, prosecuting, told the jury, when opening the trial, that the complainant would testify that the accused would regularly abuse him while he was a pupil at the school.

She said the man would say that his teacher would call him up to the front of the classroom, put his arm around him and place his hand on his leg before he reached inside his underpants and fondled his penis.

Ms Gearty said the man would also testify that the accused would sometimes follow him to the bathroom where ‘the same type of touching occurred’.

The complainant told Ms Gearty that he was uncomfortable recalling the incidents.

He said he could not wait to get out of school every day as a young boy and would run home.

He also went on trips with his father to avoid attending class with the accused.

He said on one occasion the accused told him that no one would ever believe him if he disclosed what was going on.

The complainant did not accept a suggestion from Mr Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, that ‘none of these things you say happened to you, happened at all’.

‘If that is the case, why I am sitting here? Nearly every single night I go to bed and try to sleep but the littlest thing can spark off a nightmare,’ the complainant replied.

When asked by Mr Hartnett what the distance was between the master's desk and that of the children's the complainant replied: ‘I spent most of my time terrified out of my wits and wishing to God that I was not called up to his desk.’

The complainant agreed that he had once said that he had tried to block out the incidents but he added that he had done that so he would not have to relive it.

‘I wish to God that I never had to relive it. I wish to God that it never happened,’ he said.

He accepted that he was a recovering alcoholic, and added that he drank heavily ‘to block out and kill the pain’.

He denied that he had ever heard voices in his head telling him to harm himself but admitted that he had cut himself.

The complainant accepted that he had made allegations of assault ‘within his family’ but denied accusing anyone else of sexually abusing him.

When questioned again on any other allegations of sexual abuse he made against anyone other than the accused, the complainant said he did not want to discuss it because he did not see how it was relevant to the case.

He accepted that he had spoken to a solicitor about issuing legal proceedings against the school.

The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of seven women and five men.