Monday 19 August 2019

Christian Brother jailed for indecently assaulting two children

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

Declan Brennan and Sonya McLean

A judge ruled against the State's application to stop the media naming a Christian Brother teacher accused of indecently assaulting children in the 1980s.

John Gibson (72) was this morning jailed for two years for sexual assaults on two children at a Christian Brothers’ School in Co. Wexford in 1983 and 1985.

The first victim was aged 12 during the summer of 1983 when Gibson recruited her to do some painting in the school. After the day's work was done he insisted she wash before going home and molested her during this.

Two years later Gibson asked the second victim, a 12-year-old boy, to grease the goalposts on playing fields. He again insisted the boy clean up after the work and molested the boy in the shower block.

Gibson of Dun Laoghaire, Dublin had denied three charges of indecent assault. He was found guilty of all counts by a jury following a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in February.

During the trial the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) sought an order from Judge Elma Sheahan to prevent the media from naming Gibson or even reporting any of the detail of the case on the basis there may be upcoming trials.

Lawyers on behalf of the publishers of the Irish Times, the Irish Independent and the Irish Daily Mirror newspapers subsequently made an application to have the reporting restrictions lifted and to allow normal reporting of the trial.

The DPP did not make any submissions against the application and the court heard there are no other charges against Gibson before any court. Judge Elma Sheahan ruled then that there were no compelling arguments to restrict reporting and that a warning by the judge in any future trial would be sufficient to deal with any potential prejudice.

Gibson was subsequently named in press coverage of his trial and sentence hearing.

Sentencing him today Judge Sheahan said his behaviour had “profound and long lasting consequences” on the victims. She said he abused his position of authority and carried out the attacks in a pre-meditated way.

She said he does not acknowledge his wrong doing or the jury verdict and has shown no remorse. These serious attacks on vulnerable children have effected their psychological integrity, she said.

She noted the defence submissions that Gibson is in ill health. She imposed one year prison sentences for each assault, with the sentence for the later offence to run consecutive to the sentences for the 1983 offences, making an operative sentence of two years.

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