Courts

Saturday 26 July 2014

Paedophile teacher 'at children's sports event'

Published 12/02/2014|02:30

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The former teacher has dozens of Facebook friends who are female and aged under 18.

Gardai are investigating reports that a paedophile ex-teacher attended a children's sports event just days after pleading guilty to the sexual abuse of a teenage girl.

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The former teacher, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, pleaded guilty to two charges of defilement of a child under 17 when he appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court on January 30.

He is no longer teaching and has been banned from doing so since his arrest two years ago.

The incidents happened at locations in Donegal in February and April 2012.

At last month's hearing, counsel for the DPP Patricia McLaughlin asked for a victim impact statement from the abused girl.

Judge Keenan Johnson also placed the teacher on the sex offenders' register and ordered a probation report and a psychological report on the teacher.

POSED

However, just a couple of days later the teacher appeared at a sporting event where dozens of young girls aged under 18 were in attendance.

He posed for photographs with some of them.

"I was nearly sick," said one parent who knew the teacher was before the courts on paedophile charges.

"It seems that no one in two sporting clubs in which this man is involved – and in which there are large numbers of young female members – knew about the offences."

The teacher was warned that his name was now on the sex offenders' register.

Under legislation, sex offenders are put on the register as soon as a case is proven or the accused pleads guilty, and not after sentence.

Sources in both sports clubs said they were unaware of the ex-teacher's conviction and took steps yesterday to ban him from their premises or attending sporting events in the future.

Another parent said: "The community is slowly learning what has happened in this case.

"However, he cannot be named and while we understand the victim must be protected at all costs, it is unfortunate that this has happened."

Gardai were made aware of the sex offender's attendance at the event after this newspaper was contacted by angry parents. The former teacher is due to appear in court again for sentencing on April 6. He has dozens of Facebook friends who are female and aged under 18.

Greg Harkin

Irish Independent

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