A TEACHER who groomed and sexually abused a boy and later gave him thousands of euro to help him get clean of heroin has been jailed.
John O'Donoghue (53), of The Gallops, in Sandyford, carried out the abuse on up to 20 occasions after pretending he wanted to wrestle with the 10-year- old boy.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring imposed a three-and-a-half-year sentence with the final 18 months suspended. She said O'Donoghue must have known what he was doing was wrong, even in the late Eighties.
"Child abuse can have life long effects and evidently (the victim) still suffers from the effects," Judge Ring said. "He befriended him and his trust was abused."
She noted O'Donoghue has worked around children all his life and that there is no evidence he abused anyone else. Judge Ring ordered he be registered as a sex offender and undergo two years' post-release supervision.
The sentencing hearing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the victim dropped out of school and developed a heroin addiction as a result of the abuse.
Twenty years later he approached his abuser and asked for money for rehab. O'Donoghue ended up giving him €8,500 which he raised from the sale of his house.
The victim later went to gardai and O'Donoghue admitted everything. He pleaded guilty to five sample counts of indecent assault at his previous home in south Dublin between January 1989 and December 1991.
O'Donoghue has been a teacher at St Tiernan's School in Sandyford for 30 years but is currently on suspension and doesn't believe he will retain his job. He was also a director of the Irish Table Tennis Association until he left his post as a result of the charges.
Detective Garda Sean Allen told Fiona Murphy, prosecuting, that the boy used to visit the accused regularly to mow the lawn and O'Donoghue would wrestle with the boy as an excuse to grope him.
This gradually progressed to more serious abuse including touching the child's genitals, masturbating himself and ejaculating on the child. Afterwards he would bring him to the amusements or to get chips.
The child initially liked calling over to the house because O'Donoghue had all the latest videos and records. He said he thought the abuse was normal because it was so gradual and it seemed O'Donoghue "controlled his mind". His parents thought he was in a friend's house.
The abuse stopped when O'Donoghue moved away and the boy soon began to experience problems in school. By 12 years of age he was sniffing lighter fluid. By 13 he was taking ecstasy. He had previously enjoyed school but found he couldn't concentrate and that he had to use drink and drugs to "deal with the memories".
He moved out of home at 15 and began taking cocaine which progressed to heroin. He was drinking heavily and always with older males. He attempted suicide by taking pills only to be saved by his father.
The court heard that he wanted to get into rehab but his family couldn't afford it. When he saw that O'Donoghue was selling his house he decided to ask him for the money as he blamed the abuse for his condition.
They met and over time O'Donoghue gave him several instalments totalling €8,500 to pay for rehab. They never mentioned the abuse but O'Donoghue promised to do whatever he could to help. On one occasion the victim got €1,000 from O'Donoghue which he used to pay his dealer.
A year later the victim made a statement to gardai and O'Donoghue was arrested.