Monday 26 September 2016

Victims demand to know why paedophile wasn't stopped after 1987 assault

Published 22/02/2016 | 02:30

Abuser Bill Kenneally
Abuser Bill Kenneally

Abuse victims have demanded to know how paedophile sports coach Bill Kenneally (65) could remain involved with Irish sports clubs for 26 years after he made verbal admissions to gardaí about indecent behaviour.

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Victims said there are "serious questions" to be answered over the handling of a 1987 contact from a Waterford teen's family. Afterwards, Kenneally made verbal admissions about "untoward activity".

But for the next 26 years, Kenneally remained involved in various sports clubs - going on to serve in 1991 as Irish men's national basketball manager.

Kenneally even founded his own basketball club, though this is long-defunct. Last week, Kenneally was jailed for 14 years and two months by Judge Eugene O'Kelly in Waterford Circuit Criminal Court.

He had pleaded guilty to 10 sample counts of indecent assault against 10 different teenage boys in Waterford between 1984 and 1987.

Judge O'Kelly said Kenneally's behaviour, in which he abused the boys using implements like handcuffs and blindfolds, was typical of a predatory, systematic paedophile.

His victims now want accountability over why a wider investigation wasn't ordered into Kenneally in 1987.

Four victims - Jason Clancy, Colin Power, Barry Murphy and Kevin Keating - waived their anonymity and said the truth about what happened 29 years ago must now come out.

Mr Clancy said he now believed "things are just going to unfold".

Mr Power added: "We want some accountability. There is a question of what road we have to take to get that accountability. It is a matter open to discussion."

Despite Kenneally making verbal admissions to gardaí in 1987 about his activities, no prosecution was taken against the senior Fianna Fáil tallyman.

The family of the teen involved, who was not party to last week's prosecution, refused to make a formal complaint.

Gardaí did not take a formal statement from Kenneally because there was no complaint made.

Gardaí did not launch a wider investigation at the time - and did not formally notify any of the sports clubs in which Kenneally was involved.

Officers accepted an assurance from Kenneally at the time that he was receiving expert medical help for his problem.

When Mr Clancy contacted gardaí in November 2012 to make his complaint, officers were not aware of any previous suspicions about Kenneally.

Mr Clancy said it is incredible that a lay person could have been allowed escape justice for so long.

"How somebody can abuse that volume of people and be undetected? When I went into the Garda station to make my complaint they said they had never heard of him," he added.

"He was never on their radar and I am amazed at that because he was a predator. He has now got his just rewards. But we have not got to the bottom of this yet."

Mr Clancy said he went to the gardaí in 2012, because Kenneally was still involved in basketball in Waterford.

Irish Independent

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