Gardaí at 'advanced stage' of 'sexual attack' investigation - but 'highly unlikely' students will face action
Gardaí are at an "advanced stage" in the investigation into an alleged sexual assault of a boy at a prestigious boarding school but it is "highly unlikely" any criminal charges will be brought in relation to the incident.
A 13-year-old pupil was allegedly sexually assaulted with a hockey stick by other boys in the dormitory at King's Hospital school in Palmerstown, Dublin, in November.
Senior sources have revealed that eight boys and the alleged victim have all been interviewed by specialist officers.
But it appears there is no prospect of the case going to court and it is being treated as a instance of "bullying" rather than sexual assault.
All the boys against whom the accusations were made were initially suspended when the allegations first came to light in November.
But the eight are all now back in school.
- Read more: Questions remain as school board meets on alleged sexual assault
- Read more: Gardai try to establish if 'sex assaults' at boarding school happened before
It was claimed the boy was assaulted with a hockey stick by eight other boys in his dormitory at the Church of Ireland-governed secondary school in west Dublin.
It was alleged that the 13-year-old victim had his pants pulled down and the hockey stick placed on his lower back while several students looked on.
It is alleged that he was then given a choice of having it inserted into his body or instead he could fight another youngster.
"It was always going to be a difficult case and it has been investigated fully," a source said last night.
"This is more of an issue of bullying than sexual assault as is defined in the law.
"Of course, the victim had a terrible experience, but all the indications are that this is not a sexually related offence," the source added.
At the time, gardaí said that they were concerned that key evidence may been tampered with after the alleged incident was not reported to officers for five days.
It is understood that gardaí still remain "deeply unhappy" about this delay.
The school responded to the allegations in a statement at the time.
"An Garda Síochána and Tusla are currently investigating an alleged incident which occurred at The King's Hospital school on November 24, 2016," it said. "We cannot make any statement which might prejudice those investigations," the statement added.