Saturday 24 June 2017

Demand for probe into 'transfer' of sex-abuse teacher

Leo Hickey, pictured at Cork Circuit Court Picture: Daragh McSweeney/Cork Courts Limited
Leo Hickey, pictured at Cork Circuit Court Picture: Daragh McSweeney/Cork Courts Limited
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A victims' rights charity has demanded a full investigation into how a teacher who abused young girls in one national school was allowed to transfer to another school where he went on to abuse a young boy.

One In Four warned it was "beyond belief" how Leo Hickey (77) was allowed to move from Dunderrow National School to Scoil Eoin in Ballincollig, both in Co Cork.

This was despite parents of young girls at Dunderrow threatening to withdraw their children from the school over Hickey's behaviour in the early 1970s.

One In Four chief executive Maeve Lewis said it was clear that "questions need to be answered".

"We 100pc support the call for an investigation by Louise O'Keeffe and Daniel Kelleher," Ms Lewis said.

"We also urge the State to stop hiding behind regulations and red tape so as to treat victims of abuse in national schools with respect and fairness in light of the Louise O'Keeffe ruling before the European Court of Human Rights."

Hickey was jailed for three years in June 1998 after he pleaded guilty to abusing girls at the Dunderrow school between 1964 and 1973.

One of those he abused was Louise O'Keeffe who became an outspoken campaigner for victims' rights.

She successfully took the State to the European Court of Human Rights.

Last week, Hickey was jailed for a year after being convicted by a Cork Circuit Criminal Court jury of sexually assaulting then-nine-year-old student Daniel Kelleher.

Those charges referred to dates at the Ballincollig school in 1991 and 1992.

Ms O'Keeffe has demanded an investigation into Hickey's school transfer.

Mr Kelleher has now also demanded an investigation into what happened.

"I want to know why Leo Hickey was left to operate - he was a principal in Dunderrow and he was (effectively) demoted. He was moved to Ballincollig.

"I want to know who was responsible for his movements, why he was allowed to operate - I feel they are responsible for what happened to me.

"I will not stop until I have an apology and I have the people responsible for his movements held accountable."

Irish Independent

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