Sunday 28 August 2016

Former headmaster guilty of abusing pupil

Conor Kane

Published 30/01/2013 | 05:00

A FORMER religious brother and priest was placed in custody after being found guilty of 13 counts of indecently assaulting a schoolboy more than 30 years ago.

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Con Desmond (77) had denied 13 charges of indecently assaulting a boy at the St Stephen's De La Salle national school in Waterford city, between 1977 and 1980.

He was found guilty on all 13 charges at Waterford Circuit Court.

The complainant, who was between eight and 10 years old at the times of the offences, told the trial that Desmond – then known as Brother Cornelius – abused him a number of times in the principal's office of the school.

Desmond, with an address at Woodlands, Kilrush Road, Ennis, Co Clare, showed no emotion in court as the verdicts were read out, while the victim wept quietly.

Sentencing was adjourned until February 19 to allow medical evidence and character evidence to be prepared.

The court heard he had a previous conviction for a "similar type offence", which dated back to the same period, and for which he had received a suspended sentence.

Judge Donagh McDonagh turned down an application for bail.

Desmond served as headmaster of the school from 1977 to 1984. He later became a priest and worked in the diocese of Killaloe.

During the trial, the victim told the court that during the abuse he was "very scared" and said it physically hurt him.

When asked why he didn't tell his parents or anyone else until he reported the matter to gardai in 2006, he said the headmaster wasn't a person to be questioned.

The trial heard that the victim is taking a civil case against Desmond, against the board of management of the school and against the De La Salle order.

Irish Independent

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