Wednesday 20 September 2017

Jailed principal condemned over claim victims were after money

Edward Bryan at Cork Circuit Criminal Court where he was jailed for five years.
Edward Bryan at Cork Circuit Criminal Court where he was jailed for five years.
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A FORMER school principal who put three teens through the "hell" of a three-year campaign of sexual abuse displayed not a shred of remorse for his actions.

Edward Bryan (59) was jailed for five years as a judge expressed "frustration" at the suggestion by the former Christian Brother's legal team during his trial that the three victims were only in it for the money and were on "a financial bandwagon".

But one of the victims, who is now 43, has not launched an action for compensation and does not even have a solicitor.

"It was an absolutely egregious assault on his character. It was suggested they were in it to get the money," Judge Sean O'Donnabhain said.

The judge said he raised the issue out of "frustration", but could not take it into account in sentencing.

He said there were significant aggravating factors in the case, including Bryan's total lack of remorse, the fact there were multiple victims and the great age differences involved.

"I find the lack of remorse quite alarming," he said.

Bryan, of Athboy Road, Trim, Co Meath, had vehemently denied indecently assaulting the three boys at the North Monastery secondary school in Cork in the late 1980s.

He denied a total of 11 counts which related to various dates between 1987 and 1990. All the boys were aged from 13 to 16 at the time.

Bryan was convicted by a Circuit Criminal Court jury last month, following three trials, on eight of the 11 counts.

The victims said that enduring three trials and the extensive cross-examination was very traumatic, but they were relieved that justice was finally done.

One of them said: "The trial took a massive toll on me. I was never the guilty one. I had nothing to hide. I just wanted to be believed, to be vindicated. And I was."

Another victim said that Bryan had "violated my body. He took full advantage of me in this situation. He humiliated and abused me".

A third victim later resorted to drug abuse in a bid to blot out the abuse he had suffered.

"No feelings or emotions can sum up how I felt. It was dark. It was a horrible place to be and it was a place from which I saw no escape," he said.

"On a number of occasions I sat in my car outside various garda stations in Cork and just cried, unable to go in and tell what had happened to me."

The man said he believed the abuse was something "I would take to the grave with me", but eventually made a statement to gardai to end "the hell that I was living in".

The families of all three victims sobbed in the public gallery as the men delivered their hard-hitting impact statements.

Bryan taught at the school for a total of 13 years and was briefly the principal. He was involved in basketball coaching at North Mon, one of Ireland's most famous schools, throughout his time there.

Fondled

The abuse ranged from the boys being fondled after being instructed to take their clothes off as part of a special one-to-one basketball coaching sessions, right through to having the cleric masturbate on them.

Bryan, a native of Dublin who left the Christian Brothers in 1994, was sentenced to five years in jail with the sentence backdated to February 21.

After his time with the Christian Brothers, he worked as deputy director of Oberstown House detention centre. His legal team signalled that they intend to appeal.

None of the three victims received an apology in court yesterday.

Irish Independent

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