A 52-YEAR-OLD man has brought a High Court action for damages claiming that sexual abuse at the hands of a religious brother and teacher in primary school had blighted his life.
The man is suing the brother, the religious order and the State.
He claims he was sexually abused in the school between 1969 and 1972 when he was aged between nine and 12. The abuse, which involved fondling of his private parts, was often carried out during class, he claims.
The brother strongly denies any abuse took place while the other defendants deny vicariously liability on a number of grounds including because the school was managed by the local bishop.
The court heard the brother was previously convicted by a jury of sexually abusing a number of pupils but this conviction was set aside on appeal.
There was a second trial and a second conviction which was again appealed.
Judgment in that appeal is pending and on that basis Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill, on the application of Hugh Hartnett SC, for the brother, ordered nothing should be reported which would tend to identify any of the participants in the case.
The man, who described himself in court as "a 52-year-old single man who is alone", says the abuse affected his entire personal, professional and family life.
He qualified as an engineer but the effects of the abuse led to him have a very unsettled employment life and he had around 19 different jobs over a 30-year period.
He claims this pattern of employment was a direct consequence of what happened to him at the hands of the brother.
He told his counsel Gerard Clarke that in his second year in primary school, the brother took charge of his class, which had between 55 and 61 pupils.
While initially he had "an enjoyable time" with the brother, it slowly changed over a period of time.
The abuse began when he was learning to play drums for the school band. The brother would hold him tight as he played the drums, controlling his hands as he tried help him get a rhythm.
He started touching his thighs during drum practice and later he started doing it in the classroom during school hours.
He said he was uncomfortable and didn't want him to do it.
"But I didn’t have the means in which to tell him to stop because he was not a man you said no to. He was a strict disciplinarian."
He was often called to the front of the class while the other children were working, to read aloud or have something explained to him.
He would rub his leg initially before going on to touching his penis or sliding his hand down the back of his trousers.
He sometimes covered what he was doing by wrapping a cloak brothers wore around himself and the boy.
It happened once or twice a week or on some occasions once or twice a day, he said.
He was too scared to tell his parents, who were friendly with the brother.
It was not until 1999, when approached by gardai investigating allegations against him involving other pupils, that the memories of the abuse came back.
"It was all (the abuse) put in a box and left there. It was the way I protected myself and lived my life."
He claims the abuse affected his confidence, self-esteem and his ability to form friendships because he could not trust anyone.
He denied under cross-examination that none of these events ever happened or that he had only recovered his memory 30 years later when approached by gardai to make a statement.
The hearing continues.