Monday 11 December 2017

Sex abuser housed in teen care centre

Barry Duggan and Edel O'Connell

A RAPE crisis centre has hit out at the HSE for housing a registered sex offender in an emergency care unit designed to accommodate vulnerable teenage boys and girls.

The sex offender turned 18 earlier this year, but it is understood for at least the past month he has been living at a HSE facility which caters for homeless teenage girls and vulnerable boys.

Last night, the HSE refused to answer if this scenario is being repeated in other facilities across the country.

"Since 2009 the child care centre in Limerick has operated as a mixed sex centre and supports male and female teenagers and young adults in a safe and appropriate environment," a HSE spokeswoman said.

"The HSE wishes to reiterate that it has and does take all proper steps in conducting appropriate risk assessments in all of its decision making pertaining to the operation of children's residential centres," the spokeswoman added.

Ellen O'Malley Dunlop of the Dublin Rape Crisis centre said it was "totally unacceptable" to allow this individual to be housed in such a facility.

"I don't know how this happened. Questions need to be answered now," she said.

The HSE said identifying the location of the care unit where the boy was living would place "the vulnerable young adults at risk". It requested the unit not be identified, "in the interests of the young adults".

Executive director at Rape Crisis Midwest, Miriam Duffy said she was confident that the HSE had not put the young women in the facility at risk.

"There is a piece of me that would say, if (sex offenders) are at least in some way connected to the system post-release, at least there is some level of monitoring there on him," she said.

Irish Independent

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