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Wednesday 26 July 2017

'You don't go to school to be raped' - Man seeks State apology for horrific sexual abuse

Twenty years after being sexually abused by his teacher, Daniel Cronin is still seeking answers

Daniel Cronin was just 11-years-old when he was raped by Denis O'Shea
Daniel Cronin was just 11-years-old when he was raped by Denis O'Shea
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A man who was repeatedly raped by his teacher in a State-run school is to meet with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin next week in a bid to finally get a government enquiry into the abuse.

Daniel Cronin was just 11-years-old when he was sexually abused by his teacher at a Christian Brothers school in Co Cork.

The perpetrator, Denis O'Shea was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2000 and died in 2012 - having served just over six years in prison.

Daniel (30), who is from Midleton in Cork, suffered from depression and made a number of suicide attempts after his horrific ordeal.

The part he admits struggling with the most is how a number of allegations had been made against O'Shea prior to him starting school- and yet he was still allowed to return to his job as a teacher.

Daniel has been living in London for almost four years now and is travelling home to Ireland this week in pursuit of an apology and government enquiry.

Daniel pictured at The Shard in London. He says life has become much better since he moved to the UK
Daniel pictured at The Shard in London. He says life has become much better since he moved to the UK

"I suppose moving to London was me starting a new life, but I've accepted that what happened was just a part of my life and now I’m looking for recognition - how and why did this happen in a State-run school?" he told Independent.ie.

"Before I ever started school, allegations were made against that man. I want an apology as to why it was allowed to happen to me, why wasn't I safe guarded.

"You go to school to be safe and have fun, you don't go to be raped."

During the court case, Daniel said that the judge requested a copy of the original school registrar as the one presented had been altered to say he had been absent on the days the abuse took place.

Daniel Cronin as a young boy
Daniel Cronin as a young boy

He decided to waive his anonymity back in 2014 and expected a full enquiry to be launched, and an apology to be made.

"Considering it’s 2017 now and nothing has been done, it's an absolute disgrace. A kid falls over and cuts their leg, they get compensation. I was raped and I didn’t even get an apology.

"I was suffering from depression back in 2014. I had lost my job and I spiralled into a world of depression as I had a lot of spare time to think. I remember getting to a point where I thought 'I had to get help, I can’t live like this any more.'

"I went to counselling and decided I was going to go public."

Describing the moment he found out his abuser had died, Daniel said he didn't have the reaction you would expect.

"A lot of people said it should be a happy time in your life but I got very down and out again, I kind of built up this mindset that he haunted me alive, he is now going to haunt me when he's dead.

"I can still remember that awful stale, musty smell and putrid breath he had when he would bend over my shoulder to correct my work. When he bent over me I felt something hard, digging into my back. I didn’t realise it then, but he had an erection."

He will meet with Micheál Martin, who was Minister for Education at the time of the abuse, and said he intends to put "huge pressure" on the government to provide answers.

"I want answers from the State. I will have kids one day and I want to know they will be safe at school."

If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this post, please feel free to contact Samaritans at 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org.

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