Wednesday 16 October 2019

Paedophile drove school bus after his conviction

Abuser: James Leddy attacked a 12-year-old in the 1980s
Abuser: James Leddy attacked a 12-year-old in the 1980s

Robin Schiller and Luke Byrne

A paedophile former scout leader was allowed to continue driving a school bus for a month after his conviction for child sex abuse, it has been revealed.

Parents at the west Dublin secondary school where James Leddy Snr (55) worked are furious he was allowed continued contact with children.

Leddy was found guilty in December at Dublin Circuit Court of abusing Colm Bracken on three occasions in 1981 when his victim was just 12 and a member of the Ardlea Scouts in Artane.

The paedophile, who now lives in Blanchardstown, will be sentenced next month.

But the Irish Independent has learned that he continued driving the school bus until last week - a month after his conviction.

Last week, he drove around 60 students to the BT Young Scientist Exhibition.

Concerned parents of students at the school were outraged a convicted paedophile was working around their children.

"I actually can't believe our kids have been exposed to this, even after he was convicted," one parent said.

"He was found guilty four weeks ago and was still driving a school bus.

"I rang the school on Monday and they didn't answer, other parents were onto them as well but there was no response."

The parent added they were furious the school had allowed it to happen.

"There has to be a duty of care here, how was the school not notified?" they said.

The parent, who asked not be named, added that Leddy had been working for around three years with the school.

"The victim came forward to stop him (Leddy) working around kids, so it's a slap in the face that he was still working as a school bus driver even after being convicted," the parent said.

When contacted, the school said it acted as soon as the conviction was brought to their attention.

"It came to our attention on January 14, 2019, that a bus driver organised by parents to bring students to [the school] had been convicted of a historic sexual offence," a statement said.

"The school immediately contacted the bus company and asked that this driver be removed from the school run.

"The bus company has confirmed that it has done so."

The statement added that the school has a "very rigorous child protection policy" .

In an interview with Irish Independent, Leddy's victim Colm Bracken described the scouts as a "sweet shop" where predators were able to prey freely on vulnerable children.

"It was like a sweet shop and they were coming in to buy. It was like a candy store," he said.

He added he came forward after learning Leddy was working as a school bus driver, because he didn't want him to harm any other children.

Irish Independent

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