Wicklow People

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Suspended sentence for abusing boy

Both victim and abuser were youth group members in 1960s

A retired salesman has received a suspended prison sentence for the sexual abuse of a young boy while they were both members of a Christian youth group in the 1960s.

Gordon Black (70) was aged between 16 and 20 years old when he molested the victim, who was then aged between 12 and 16. At the time they were both in the 'Boys Brigade', an international Christian youth organisation and Black had a more senior position.

The victim, now aged 66, said he still becomes angry when he thinks about the abuse. He said he can still recall the smell of cigarettes on his abuser's breath.

Black of Mill Meadows, Arklow, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three counts of indecent assault of a male on dates between 1965 and 1969. The maximum prison sentence for the offending at that time was two years.

Judge Martin Nolan said that Black had exploited a situation of strength over the victim and said his actions were reprehensible. But he said he didn't think that Black deserved a prison sentence, noting that Black admitted his offending and had expressed genuine remorse. He also noted the absence of any other convictions at his age.

He suspended a two-year prison term on condition that Black keep the peace for that period.

Garda Keith Alford told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that one of the assaults took place after a trip organised by the youth group. Black was driving the victim home and pulled the car over and told the victim to get into the back seat because he wanted to 'show him something'.

Black got into the back seat too and molested the child. He took out his own penis and tried to get the victim to kiss it and repeatedly asked him to do so.

The child began to panic and was becoming upset. The court heard that Black saw how upset the child was becoming and he stopped and 'fixed himself up'.

In 2017, the victim went to gardaí. He said that during this assault Black kissed him on the lips.

'I'm 66 now and I can still remember the smell of cigarette on his breath,' he said.

Black admitted the offending to gardaí and told them that he himself had being abused as a child by three different people. He told gardaí about a incident during a Boys Brigade camping trip in Laytown, Co Meath, when he molested the victim.

The victim had no memory of this attack but Black's admission was followed up by a guilty plea.

In a statement, the victim said that recalling the abuse still makes him angry. He said the attacks prevented him from being able to show affection for his daughters when they were children.

Luigi Rea BL, defending, said his client was a much younger man at the time of this offending and has gone on to live an otherwise blameless life, raising a family and working as a salesman.

'He was going through a phase which he has long long passed out of,' counsel said. Mr Rea said his client fully understood now the serious consequences of his actions.

Wicklow People