Sunday 20 August 2017

Retired teacher is jailed as his victim tells of abuse 'hell'

Leo Hickey at Cork Circuit Court. Photo: Cork Courts
Leo Hickey at Cork Circuit Court. Photo: Cork Courts
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A retired teacher was jailed for a year for sexually assaulting a nine-year-old former pupil who described the abuse as leaving him enduring "a living hell".

Leo Hickey (77) was jailed as Judge Sean O'Donnabhain told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that Hickey's acts were "disgraceful".

"He took advantage of a very young and impressionable boy. This was a substantial breach of trust," he warned.

Judge O'Donnabhain imposed a three-year prison sentence but agreed to suspend the final two years in light of Hickey's advanced age and health issues.

The retired primary school teacher was convicted last February on eight counts of sexually assaulting former student Daniel Kelleher in a Cork primary school in 1991 and 1992.

Last February, complainant Daniel Kelleher (34) waived his right to anonymity.

Don Kelleher, a childhood victim of teacher Leo Hickey, speaking after Hickey was sentenced yesterday. Photo: Provision
Don Kelleher, a childhood victim of teacher Leo Hickey, speaking after Hickey was sentenced yesterday. Photo: Provision

In a victim impact statement read out on his behalf, Mr Kelleher of Ballincollig, Co Cork, said the abuse had change the entire course of his life.

"I put on a tough exterior but inside I was crying over my dirty secret," he said.

"I went off track in my life. I had a disdain for authority. I felt so ashamed (over what happened). It had a devastating effect on me."

Mr Kelleher said he wished Hickey of Realt na Mara, Skevanish, Innishannon, Co Cork had admitted the incidents so as not to force him to relive what happened during the trial.

John Devlin BL, for Hickey, said his client was someone of "national notoriety" because of a previous conviction.

Hickey was jailed for three years in June 1998 after he pleaded guilty abusing 21 girls at Dunderrow National School between 1964 and 1973.

One of those he abused was Louise O'Keeffe, who later took a successful action against the State to the European Court of Human Rights.

Last night, Ms O'Keeffe called for a full investigation into Hickey's move between the national schools in Dunderrow and Ballincollig.

"The damage that was done to young boys and young girls inside in national schools should never have happened," she said.

Irish Independent

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