Monday 21 October 2019

Former scout leader jailed for sex assault on neighbour (13)

Jailed: James Leddy arrives at the Criminal Courts of Justice. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Jailed: James Leddy arrives at the Criminal Courts of Justice. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Colm Bracken (left) with his friend Paul O’Toole. Picture: Damien Eagers
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

A man who was sexually assaulted by a neighbour when he was 13 has said he is "elated" that his abuser has finally been jailed.

James Leddy (56), a former scout leader, was yesterday sentenced to three months' imprisonment after being found guilty of sexually abusing Colm Bracken on three occasions in 1981.

The court heard how the assaults, at Leddy's former home in Artane, Dublin, involved him offering his victim cigarettes to "set a trap" before assaulting him.

Judge Pauline Codd sentenced the accused, of Sheephill Avenue in Blanchardstown, to eight months' imprisonment on each count to run concurrently, suspending the last five months.

The maximum sentence on each count due to the historic nature of the crime was two years' imprisonment.

Throughout his trial and after his conviction Leddy denied any wrongdoing, but at a hearing in July said he was sorry for the abuse, although he maintained he did not recall it.

Speaking to the Irish Independent after the sentencing, Mr Bracken described Leddy's claim of not remembering as "a joke".

He said that, immediately after the sentencing, the jail term felt "like a kick in the gut". However, he now says he is "elated" over the term given to his abuser and appealed to more abuse victims to come forward.

"I hope now when the prison door closes, every night he's in there that I'm the last person he thinks of. When he wakes up in the morning, he thinks of me. When he sits down for breakfast, lunch, dinner. Every time he looks at a plate, a cup, or when he looks in the mirror having a wash, that he thinks of me. Because I'm the one who put him there," he said.

Dublin Circuit Court heard how Leddy began seeking psychiatric help in 2012 when the abuse first came to light. Mr Bracken said this was the abuser "playing the system".

Evidence was given of how Leddy abused Mr Bracken on three separate occasions.

The first time Leddy, then aged 17, offered his young victim cigarettes and told him he would teach him first aid. However, he sexually assaulted Mr Bracken and threatened to tell his parents he smoked if he revealed the abuse.

Days later Leddy carried out an oral sexual assault on Mr Bracken. The third and final time Leddy was in the process of opening the boy's trousers when there was a knock at the door and he stopped.

Mr Bracken's friend Paul O'Toole yesterday hit out at Leddy using his own sexual abuse as mitigation.

"The factor that makes me sick to my core is these guys coming up and saying they were molested. Now maybe they were, maybe they weren't. Colm was molested and he didn't turn out to be a paedophile."

Irish Independent

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