Saturday 17 March 2018

Teacher guilty of sexually exploiting girl

Gordon Deegan

A TEACHER yesterday pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting a 15-year-old Junior Cert student.

The 60-year-old married father-of-four claimed the girl was "a willing participant".

At Ennis Circuit Court yesterday, Det Sgt Michael Moloney outlined details of 13 separate sexual offences committed by the teacher against the girl in classrooms at a school in Shannon, Co Clare, during an eight-week period between September 15 and November 12, 2009.

A 14th offence took place in the bedroom of the home of the man when his wife and children, aged 20, 16, 14 and 11, were out of the house.

The Co Kerry native -- who cannot be named for legal reasons -- pleaded guilty to 10 counts of the sexual exploitation and four of the defilement of the girl, who was aged 15, in relation to 11 of the 14 charges.

Det Sgt Moloney said that on the first occasion the girl performed oral sex on the man behind a cabinet in the teacher's classroom after school, he instructed her on what to do.

The incidents were progressive in nature, and had started off with kissing and fondling.

The girl informed her parents in November 2009 of what had occurred and they complained to the school authorities. In an interview with gardai, the man said: "I am deeply sorry. I was in a position of trust and I should have stopped it."

Prosecution lawyer Stephen Coughlan said that the man told gardai that the girl was a willing participant. Det Sgt Moloney said the man claimed he was flattered by the girl's attentions in trying to justify the offences committed.

The detective agreed with Mr Coughlan that the accused was aware of his legal and moral responsibilities to the girl at all times and of her age.

The girl, described as being in the top 10pc academically in her class and a keen sports-woman, will be sitting her Leaving Cert at the school next year.

Defence lawyer Michael Collins said that the man bore "the shame, disgrace and responsibility" concerning the sexual offences committed.

The court heard that 218 texts sent by the man to the girl were retrieved and they were "extremely inappropriate, quite explicit and sexual in nature".

Mr Collins said that "during the progression of the incidents, the injured party was showing text traffic to her friends to appraise them of how things were progressing".

Det Sgt Moloney said that after the girl performed oral sex on the man's birthday on November 3, 2009, the teacher told her "it was the best birthday he ever had".

Det Sgt Moloney said that on September 29 when the accused was kissing and fondling the girl at a storeroom, another teacher arrived. On hearing the teacher come in, the accused handed the girl a football and asked her 'Will this do?' and the two walked out of the room.

Mr Collins said that the man's behaviour was "aberrational and out of character".

The teacher was put on administrative leave by the school in November 2009 and he retired in March of this year.

Judge Carroll Moran adjourned sentencing to September 26.

Irish Independent

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