Tuesday 22 January 2019

Dublin rugby coach and teacher charged with 35 counts of assaulting schoolboys

Charged: Former rugby coach John McClean leaves the Dublin District Court. Photo: Collins Courts
Charged: Former rugby coach John McClean leaves the Dublin District Court. Photo: Collins Courts
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A former rugby coach and teacher has been sent for trial accused of indecently assaulting students at a south Dublin school in the 1970s and 80s.

John McClean (73) is charged with 35 counts of assaulting schoolboys at Terenure College over a 17 year period.

He had a book of evidence serve on him when he appeared in Dublin District Court today.

Judge Dermot Simms sent him for trial to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Mr McClean, with an address at Casimir Avenue, Harold’s Cross, is charged with indecently assaulting nine boys.

The offences are alleged to have taken place at Terenure College, Templeogue Road, Terenure on dates between 1973 and 1989.

He is alleged to have assaulted some of the boys once and others on multiple occasions - in the case of one alleged victim there are 14 separate counts.

A further 13 counts relate to another boy.

Defence solicitor Dara Robinson said the case was before the court for the service of a book of evidence and this was ready.

Detective Garda Sergeant Jason Miley served the book on the accused. A state solicitor said amendments had been made to some of the charge sheets, with no defence objection.

She said the DPP was consenting to the accused being sent forward to the next sittings of the circuit court, on bail under existing terms and conditions.

Mr Robinson said his client's passport, which had been surrendered, remained in garda possession.

Judge Simms gave Mr McClean the formal notice that he has 14 days to provide the prosecution with details of any alibis he intended to rely on in the course of his trial.

The judge explained this meant anything stating that “you weren’t at the place at the time of the alleged offences, or that you were with someone else, or somewhere else.”

He also ordered the prosecution to furnish the defence with a copy of the accused’s garda interview video.

Mr McClean, wearing a dark suit with a white shirt and blue tie sat facing away from the courtroom's public gallery with one hand held up to his face for much of the brief hearing.

He spoke only to acknowledge to the judge that he understood the alibi caution.

After the proceedings, he made his way out of the court holding a large, dark overcoat.

Today was Mr McClean’s second court appearance after he was arrested and charged last November.

Previously, Det Sgt Miley said he arrested the accused at Casimir Avenue and brought him to Terenure Garda Station where he made no reply to any of the charges after caution.

On the last date, bail was granted in the defendant’s own bond of €500, with no cash lodgement or independent surety required.

Under bail conditions, he is to sign on at Terenure Garda Station every Saturday between 9am and 9pm, have no contact directly or indirectly with any of the alleged victims or witnesses, and surrender his passport to the gardai.

This can be returned for travel to family members in the UK, the court heard.

Mr McClean, an English and drama teacher who also coached rugby, worked at the prestigious south Dublin school for decades before taking up a rugby coaching position in UCD in the 1990s.

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