A man from County Clare has been given a suspended prison sentence of fifteen months for the historic child abuse of a fourteen-year-old boy in 1976.
The incident occurred in June 1976 at a campsite outside of Cheekpoint – a small village on the River Suir, approximately twelve kilometres outside of Waterford. The victim was one of a small group of teenage boys that had arrived in Waterford earlier in the day and been taken to the campsite by their scout leader.
Later that evening, the scout leader – who cannot be named as it would identify the victim – beckoned to the fourteen-year-old boy to come closer to his tent and, as the boy approached, he was pulled inside of the tent. The scout leader then started tickling him and touching him inappropriately. The boy did not report the historic child abuse until 2013.
When questioned by the gardaí, the former scout leader – who is now 73 years of age and lives in County Clare – admitted that he might have touched the boy inappropriately and was charged with historic child abuse. He subsequently resigned from UCC´s Board of Management and was placed on the sexual offenders list. He also paid his victim more than €7,500 compensation.
At the sentencing hearing at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Eugene O´Kelly heard the offender describe the event as “an isolated incident from many years ago” for which he was extremely sorry. The judge was also told the former scout leader had no former convictions and – due to being placed on the sexual offenders list – no longer has access to his grandchildren.
The court was also read a victim impact statement in which it was claimed the victim – now 54 years of age – had suffered nightmares as a result of the historic child abuse and, later in life, had drunk heavily – causing his business to suffer as a result. The victim´s legal representative told the court he has been taking anti-depressants for the past twenty-eight years.
Judge O´Kelly initially sentenced the former scout leader to twenty months in prison – reducing the sentence to fifteen months and suspending it for three years due to a “significant element of remorse” and the fact that the historic child abuse took place more than forty years ago.