March 2017

‘You don’t go to school to be raped’ – Man seeks State apology for horrific sexual abuse

A man who was repeatedly raped by his teacher in a State-run school is to meet with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin next week in a bid to finally get a government enquiry into the abuse.

Daniel Cronin was just 11-years-old when he was sexually abused by his teacher at a Christian Brothers school in Co Cork.

The perpetrator, Denis O’Shea was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2000 and died in 2012 – having served just over six years in prison.

Daniel (30), who is from Midleton in Cork, suffered from depression and made a number of suicide attempts after his horrific ordeal.

The part he admits struggling with the most is how a number of allegations had been made against O’Shea prior to him starting school- and yet he was still allowed to return to his job as a teacher.

Daniel has been living in London for almost four years now and is travelling home to Ireland this week in pursuit of an apology and government enquiry.

“I suppose moving to London was me starting a new life, but I’ve accepted that what happened was just a part of my life and now I’m looking for recognition – how and why did this happen in a State-run school?” he told Independent.ie.

“Before I ever started school, allegations were made against that man. I want an apology as to why it was allowed to happen to me, why wasn’t I safe guarded.

“You go to school to be safe and have fun, you don’t go to be raped.”

During the court case, Daniel said that the judge requested a copy of the original school registrar as the one presented had been altered to say he had been absent on the days the abuse took place.

He decided to waive his anonymity back in 2014 and expected a full enquiry to be launched, and an apology to be made.

“Considering it’s 2017 now and nothing has been done, it’s an absolute disgrace. A kid falls over and cuts their leg, they get compensation. I was raped and I didn’t even get an apology.

“I was suffering from depression back in 2014. I had lost my job and I spiralled into a world of depression as I had a lot of spare time to think. I remember getting to a point where I thought ‘I had to get help, I can’t live like this any more.’

“I went to counselling and decided I was going to go public.”

Describing the moment he found out his abuser had died, Daniel said he didn’t have the reaction you would expect.

“A lot of people said it should be a happy time in your life but I got very down and out again, I kind of built up this mindset that he haunted me alive, he is now going to haunt me when he’s dead.

“I can still remember that awful stale, musty smell and putrid breath he had when he would bend over my shoulder to correct my work. When he bent over me I felt something hard, digging into my back. I didn’t realise it then, but he had an erection.”

He will meet with Micheál Martin, who was Minister for Education at the time of the abuse, and said he intends to put “huge pressure” on the government to provide answers.

“I want answers from the State. I will have kids one day and I want to know they will be safe at school.”

July 2003

Teacher who raped boy is identified

A Co Cork remedial teacher and Catholic Boy Scouts regional commissioner who was jailed in 2000 for 10 years for raping a schoolboy has been named.

Denis O’Shea (54), single, Cahermore, Midleton, was jailed by Mr Justice O’Donovan at the Central Criminal Court on July 26th, 2000, but his identity could not be revealed at that time for legal reasons.

He was convicted in June 2000 by a jury after a 13-day trial on two charges of buggering an 11-year-old pupil from 1997 to 1998.

He was also convicted of four charges of sexual assault.

Det Garda Michael O’Sullivan said O’Shea had been involved in the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland since 1972 as a diocesan commissioner and a regional commissioner.

He was also a director of the Mellory Centre, which was used as a holiday outlet.

The application to have his identity revealed was granted by Mr Justice Carney on the application of Mr Anthony Sammon SC for the DPP.

Mr Justice O’Donovan said in June 2000 he “wholeheartedly agreed” with the jury’s verdicts. He said the boy had been subject to prolonged cross-examination, in all likelihood on O’Shea’s instructions. O’Shea had accused the boy of fabricating a story and accused his family of colluding with him.

The boy’s mother told Mr Justice O’Donovan the rapes had had a negative effect on her son and the family. “Since then his behaviour has totally changed.” He had been happy, “a polite child, a very, very good child”. It was now difficult to get him to school. There were tears and tantrums.