Sunday 21 January 2018

Child-abuse teacher paid victim €8,500 to beat heroin addiction

Conor Gallagher

A TEACHER who groomed and sexually abused a boy later gave him thousands of euros to help him get clean of heroin, a court has heard.

John O'Donoghue (53), of The Gallops in Sandyford, Dublin, carried out the abuse on up to 20 occasions after pretending he wanted to wrestle with the then 10-year-old boy.

The sentencing hearing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the victim later dropped out of school and developed a heroin addiction as a result of the abuse.

Twenty years later, he approached his abuser and asked for money for rehab. O'Donoghue ended up giving him €8,500, which he raised from the sale of his house.

The victim later went to gardai and O'Donoghue admitted everything. He pleaded guilty to five sample counts of indecent assault at his previous home in south Dublin between January 1989 and December 1991.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring remanded him in custody until next week when she will impose sentence.

O'Donoghue has been a teacher at St Tiernan's School in Sandyford for 30 years but is currently on suspension and doesn't believe he will retain his job.

He was also a director of the Irish Table Tennis Association until he left his post as a result of the charges.

GROPE

Detective Garda Sean Allen told the court that the boy used to visit the accused regularly to mow the lawn and O'Donoghue would wrestle with the boy as an excuse to grope him.

This gradually progressed to more serious abuse. Afterwards he would bring him to the amusements or to get chips.

The abuse stopped when O'Donoghue moved away and the boy soon began to experience problems in school.

By 12 years of age he was sniffing lighter fluid. By 13 he was taking ecstasy.

He had previously enjoyed school but found he couldn't concentrate and that he had to use drink and drugs to "deal with the memories".

He moved out of home at 15 and began taking cocaine, which progressed on to heroin. He attempted suicide by taking pills only to be saved by his father at the last minute.

The court heard that he wanted to get into rehab but his family couldn't afford it. When he saw that O'Donoghue was selling his house, he decided to ask him for the money as he blamed the abuse for his condition.

They met and, over time, O'Donoghue gave him several instalments totalling €8,500 to pay for rehab.

They never mentioned the abuse but O'Donoghue promised to do whatever he could to help.

A year later, the victim made a statement to gardai and O'Donoghue was arrested. He made full admissions.

Irish Independent

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