Tuesday 19 March 2019

Damian O'Farrell: ‘I didn’t find any Christian Charity’

Damian O’Farrell was among the first victims of sexual abuse to secure a conviction against a former Christian Brother.

Twenty years ago, the national school teacher received a suspended sentence and a fine for sexual abuse.

By the time of his conviction, the teacher had left the Christian Brothers and was married with children.

O’Farrell, a city councillor who works as a special adviser to Minister Finian McGrath, complained to gardaí as an adult, and the ex-Brother was prosecuted 20 years after the incidents took place in 1978.

O’Farrell says he made a complaint after discovering that his abuser was still teaching in another school even after he reported the abuse to the congregation.

He says the abuse happened seven or eight times at the school.

“He would stick his hand down my trousers and fondle me.”

In the court case, Det Sgt Matt Murphy spoke of an incident that involved fondling of the penis and testicles.

Looking back on the incident 40 years later, O’Farrell says: “When the school broke up for the summer holidays, he got a few of us down to the school to do jobs. That was his modus operandi.”

According to the court report of the time, the same teacher abused another boy, and the incident involved masturbation in a shed at the rear of the school and in a classroom.

Around the time of the trial, Damian saw the ex-Brother distributing cleaning catalogues on the street where he lives.

“I hid in some bushes to avoid him. I was still afraid of him.

“In all my time dealing with the Christian Brothers, I didn’t find any Christian charity,” Damian says.

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