News Courts

Saturday 22 October 2016

Sports coach who handcuffed and bound boys during sex assaults jailed for 14 years

Published 19/02/2016 | 11:02

Bill Kenneally
Bill Kenneally

A SPORTS coach and election tallyman who abused 10 teenage boys was jailed for 14 years and two months.

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Bill Kenneally (65) was jailed as Judge Eugene O'Kelly warned that he had systematically groomed and then exploited the teens for his own sexual gratification.

The judge noted that Kenneally's activities bore all the hallmarks of the systematic behaviour of predatory paedophiles in that the abuse suffered by each teen was very similar in nature.

Kenneally also had the same modus operandi in grooming each of the boys - impressing them, befriending them, giving them gifts of cash and sports gear and then exploiting them for his own sexual gratification.

He also took photos of the semi-naked boys as a form of "insurance against disclosure."

"This was all manipulative grooming for the abuse that was to follow. This is an aggravating factor," Judge O'Kelly said.

The judge imposed 17 month prison sentences for each of the 10 counts.

However, he directed that each of the sentences be served consecutively to a total sentence of 14 years and two months.

The Garda investigation into indecent assaults by Kenneally was triggered by a young man who got the courage to lodge a formal complaint after being inspired by the brave UK victims of Jimmy Savile.

Jason Clancy (45) contacted Gardai in 2012 to make a formal complaint about the Waterford sports coach and Fianna Fail tallyman after he had read about the Savile victims and realised that what was done to him as a teen in the 1980s was very wrong.

Nine other victims then came forward.

The trial also heard that another family contacted Gardai about Bill Kenneally in 1987 over concerns about his links with their teenage son.

Kenneally made specific admissions but no prosecution was taken because the family involved did not want to make a formal complaint.

The court heard that Kenneally had assured gardai 29 years ago that he was "getting medical treatment for his problem."

The teen involved is not one of the ten involved in the current prosecution.

Kenneally (65), who is single and an accountant by profession, appeared before Waterford Circuit Criminal Court for sentencing after he pleaded guilty last December to indecently assaulting 10 teenage boys.

The defendant is also a former Irish national basketball coach.

Mr Clancy, who waived his right to anonymity, fought back tears as he admitted in a victim impact statement the abuse had "changed my life forever."

"He (Kenneally) repeatedly told me throughout my years of abuse that he was part of the Kenneally political family and I would never be believed," the victim said.

Kenneally is related to three generations of Waterford TDs including former Fianna Fail TD Brendan Kenneally.

Mr Clancy said Bill Kenneally's actions changed his life.

"The abuse went on for over three years on a weekly basis, more or less. My life was no longer mine."

"I felt dirty all the time. I felt my secret was shameful - blaming myself for what happened and I had brought great hurt and shame on my family."

"My life has been blighted by the abuse and punishments you handed down to me," he added.

Kenneally of Laragh, Summerville Avenue, Waterford, pleaded guilty to 10 sample counts of indecent assault.

All the charges related to incidents in Waterford in the 1980s when Kenneally was involved as a volunteer in a number of sports clubs.

The charges all related to dates between October 31 1984 and December 31 1987.

All the boys were aged between 12 and 16 years.

The victims walked out of the sentencing hearing when an apology was read out on Kenneally's behalf.

Judge Eugene O'Kelly was told by Det Garda Maureen Neary that the abuse involved the defendant plying the teens with alcohol and cigarettes as well as paying them money in amounts which always involved the number seven.

The court was later told that the number seven was "lucky" for the Kenneally family.

He would also give them football gear of such popular Premiership clubs as Manchester United and Liverpool.

Kenneally would also take the teens away on day trips.

During the indecent assaults, he would strip the teens, masturbate them or require them to masturbate him.

On occasions, he would handcuff and blindfold the youngsters.

In one case, he demanded that a teenage boy give him oral sex in his Nissan car when it was parked near Kilkenny Castle.

He also took Polaroid photographs of youngsters partially clothed and, in one case, twisted the boy's testicle just to make him smile.

He then told the youngster he would keep the photograph as proof that the teen had enjoyed what had happened.

Kenneally refused to hand over the photos with one teen terrified the photographs would be used against him.

One teen was abused in what Kenneally called "a beating" because of a practical joke he had earlier played on the sports coach.

On another occasion, a teen queried precisely what Kenneally was doing to them.

"You don't think you are getting the money for nothing," the teen told Gardai he was informed by the defendant.

One victim said he was required, with another teen, to tie and handcuff Kenneally to a tree and then masturbate him.

They were also forced to handcuff Kenneally to a bed and masturbate him.

When he was first confronted by Gardai following the launch of the investigation in 2012, Kenneally asked whether the incidents involved were historic?

Det Garda Neary said Kenneally told them when first questioned: "I more or less tied him up and molested him."

One victim had called for Kenneally to be  "locked up and the key thrown away for good."

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