Former GAA coach jailed for indecent assaults on boys
A 75-year-old man has been jailed for seven years for multiple indecent assaults on two young boys in the 1970s.
The victims - one of whom was abused up to 100 times - came forward after hearing he had gone on to abuse other boys a decade later.
Ronan McCormack, a farmer from Cloonloo Co Sligo, was already serving a sentence for abusing five other boys in the 1980s while he was a GAA coach.
Defence lawyers said he was coming towards the end of that five year sentence and had asked the judge not to impose any extra time in custody because of his age and medical issues. However Judge Martin Nolan said the pattern of "gravely reprehensible" behaviour required a severe sentence. He said a conservative estimate was that one of the boys had been abused between 60 and 100 times.
He imposed consecutive sentences on four sample charges, to begin from today, meaning McCormack will serve additional time in prison.
He was convicted on the 1970s offences after a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court earlier this year. He had pleaded not guilty to indecent assault on two brothers who were aged between 11 and 13 on dates between 1971 and 1973.
The abuse took place in the victims' family home, in his car, on a boat and at a cinema. One of the brothers described the abuse as "a ritual". McCormack molested the younger brother on three occasions.
In a victim impact statement the older brother said the two years of abuse he suffered from the age of 11 had a negative, ripple effect on his life and others.
His school work declined and later he suffered years of depression and missed career and relationship opportunities. He described these as "the lost years".
He never confided in anyone, lost trust in men and suffered years of pain. He said he felt like he was damaged goods and would often wake from nightmares feeling he could smell his abuser's body odour. He said for a time he unfairly blamed his parents and despised them for been hoodwinked and manipulated by McCormack. It also affected his relationship with his brother whom he felt he had let down and had not protected.
He lived abroad for a long time in an effort to distance himself from what happened and his inaction would prey on him indefinitely. "He has never offered an apology or shown remorse," he added. He now wanted to shut the door on this traumatic experience and move on with his life, he said.
In his statement the second brother said that the abuse had left him with a lasting sense of insecurity. He said he feels extremely distrustful of people and of friendship because he believes people might have ulterior motives.
Kathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting, told the court that the maximum penalty for indecent assault of a male in the 1970s was two years but that this increased to five years where the convictions was a second conviction.
She said the court had discretion to impose up to five years. Patrick Gageby SC, defending, argued that the previous convictions were for offences committed after these offences and that this offending should not be considered as subsequent offending.
He said the offending was not at the highest end of the scale given that indecent assault in the 1970s covered a range of offences.
The court heard that the first brother had previously changed his mind about confronting the man after going to the family home and seeing a child's swing and decided he had moved on. This was before the man's later offending in the 1980s came to light with the 2014 conviction.
Passing sentence today Judge Nolan said McCormack deserved punishment for what he did. He said he had abused the trust placed in him by the boys' family. His abuse of the boys had serious consequences and what he did was "gravely reprehensible."