A FORMER garda officer who abused young disabled boys at the station where he was based and at scout camps has been jailed for six months.
John (Jack) Dunne (82), of Canon Breen Park, Thomondgate, Limerick, was behind bars last night after he pleaded guilty to 14 counts of indecent assault on four young boys – aged between nine and 14 years – in Dublin on dates between 1963 and 1969.
Dunne, a garda officer of 23 years, was the children's liaison officer at Pearse Street garda station in Dublin from 1962 to 1976.
He was also a leader of a nearby scouts' troop, and two of Dunne's victims were polio sufferers whom he recruited through his work with disabled scouts. Both boys relied upon him for lifts.
All four victims, including one man in a wheelchair and another on crutches, were present in Limerick Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.
Judge Carroll Moran handed down a two-year sentence, but suspended 18 months of it. The judge said Dunne had to serve six months in prison "to reflect the awful things he did" and placed him on the sex offenders' register.
Some of the crimes took place in the dormitory of Pearse Street garda station, in tents on scout camps in Waterford, in cinemas or in his Morris Minor car in the Phoenix Park.
The court heard that in his capacity as a juvenile liaison officer, he had the opportunity to contact the boys and ingratiate himself with their families and won their respect and trust.
One victim told the court the abuse could happen at any time. Another was abused 15 to 20 times.
Judge Moran said some of the abuse included kissing on the lips, touching private parts and mutual masturbation.
After resigning from the gardai amid a cloud of indecency, Dunne joined the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in 1977.
In 1986, he received the Probation Act for indecently assaulting a 12-year-old boy – his only prior conviction.
In 1992, he attended sex therapy at Trinity House in Chicago for four months and left the religious order in 1997. He has been living in Limerick ever since.
The victims came forward to gardai following the 2009 publication of the Ryan report.
Dunne admitted the offences to investigating officers in 2011.
Judge Moran said the trust imposed on Dunne was enormous.
"He robbed the boys of their innocence," the judge said.
Speaking afterwards, one of Dunne's victim – now aged 56 – said he hoped other victims of sexual abuse would come forward.
"It doesn't matter how late it is – it definitely helps," he said.
He said he had absolutely no sympathy for Dunne entering prison as an 82-year-old man.
"It is good enough (for him), I have had this for years.
"We have been in prison in our own way," he said.
"My life has been very difficult," he added.