April 2019

Paedophile teacher was quizzed by gardai 25 years ago – but was only jailed this week

Paedophile teacher John Gibson was quizzed by gardai 25 years ago – but was only jailed this week.

The Christian Brother was sent down for two years for vile sex attacks on a girl and boy at the Wexford school where he taught in the 1980s.

Yesterday the Irish Mirror reported claims the female victim had alerted the Catholic Church about the abuse 14 years ago.

But now another man not involved in February’s court case has come forward, claiming he was also assaulted by the cleric and he reported it to gardai in 1994.

Last night, the alleged victim said he was molested in the shower room in “identical circumstances” to the 12-year-old boy whom Gibson was found guilty of assaulting.

He said: “The word I got back at the time, in 1994, was the superintendent had looked at it and it wasn’t worth pursuing because it was basically my word against his.

“And then the statement went missing, never to be found.”

The man added he played for the school hurling team coached by Gibson and later tried to forget about his attack.

But when allegations of clerical abuse first hit the headlines in the 1990s he “felt compelled” to report Gibson.

The man said: “The whole Brendan Smith affair was live at that time and the media were talking about this word ‘recidivism’ and I’d never heard it before.

“But it was about perpetrators re-offending. I knew I wasn’t the only one and I heard there were other identical incidents.

“But I was also of the view maybe he is doing the same or worse and there could be kids at risk.

The man said he contacted gardai when he was 25 and was asked to make a statement after two officers called to his house.

He added: “It was handwritten, he was writing down everything I was saying. He [Gibson] was questioned immediately.

“A few weeks later the garda called over to my work actually and he said ‘Can I see you for a minute’?

“He said, ‘Look, the superintendent is after looking at that and there’s no point pursuing it because it would be your word against his’.

“Now this is probably right and correct, I don’t know.

“According to the guard, he nearly fell off the chair when they were questioning him and he took to the bed afterwards. It was such a shock.”

Two decades later the man went back to gardai and made a second statement after reading reports of allegations.

He said: “After the article I went back and they said ‘Jesus we can’t find your statement’.

“So I said sure I’ll make a new statement and my wife also made a statement saying I had made the
statement in 1994 to corroborate mine.

“Six others made statements at that point as well. And there were two others who I tried to get to make statements and they wouldn’t.

“Then interestingly, this is how much of a liar Gibson is, when I made the second statement and they questioned him he pretended not to remember me.

“I got a letter first of all from the superintendent saying the DPP has said no charges preferred in this case and if you want an explanation for this you must write to the DPP, which I did.

“They wrote back to me and said the reason there was no charges is we couldn’t find your statement in 1994.”

A Garda spokesman said he couldn’t comment on the case.

March 2019

Man and woman recall ‘absolute horror’ of abuse by Christian Brother

A man and a woman who were abused by a Christian Brother in the 1980s have told a court about the impact of the abuse on their lives.

John Gibson (72) of Dun Laoghaire, Dublin is to be sentenced next month after he was found guilty of two charges of indecent assault against a 12-year-old girl at a Christian Brothers’ School in Co. Wexford in 1983.

He was also convicted of the indecent assault of a 12-year-old boy in 1985.

Gibson had denied all three charges but was found guilty by a jury following a five-day trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in February.

During the trial, the two complainants testified that Gibson had molested them while washing them after they had carried out some manual work for him around the school.

At a sentence hearing today, Diane Stuart BL, prosecuting, said Gibson asked the boy for help to grease some goalposts on playing fields, and abused him afterwards while he was showering.

The court heard that two years earlier, Gibson asked the girl to do some painting in a corridor. He sexually abused her afterwards in a classroom while washing her with a basin and a cloth.

Both victims read their statements aloud in court detailing the effect of the abuse and the ordeal of going through a trial.

The man, now aged 36, described how he had been a promising football player and a top student, but that after the abuse, school became a nightmare as he faced the “absolute horror of seeing my abuser every day and not knowing when the next beating was coming from”.

He started binge-drinking aged 14, lost interest in sport and eventually dropped out of school.

He said the day he was abused was when he “stopped being a child and had to take on a burden and secret that no child should have to carry”.

The man said with Gibson’s conviction, the embarrassment of being abused was finally gone and he had been able to park the years of anger, flashbacks, drinking and crying to sleep with the help of his family and counselling.

“If my father had known what was done to me by that animal, I have no doubt he would be John Gibson, deceased,” he added.

Both victims spoke of the environment in 1980s Ireland where the church was “untouchable” and “clerics and religious were to be revered”.

The woman, now aged 47, said she was “innocent in a way that can only be imagined” when she was molested at the age of 12.

“I still didn’t know where babies come from or what puberty was. I was an easy target for an adult who wanted to take advantage of a trusting child who always did what they were told,” she said.

The woman described how the abuse transformed her from a bright, confident child into someone withdrawn, nervous, fearful and a target for bullies.

She said she developed a “mental trick” for dealing with the shame of the abuse which she used into her 30s.

It would allow me to bury the pain temporarily, but it didn’t stop its effects,” she said.

The woman said the abuse was a “life sentence” which had cost her every loving relationship in her life as she struggled with intimacy.

She said that every day she grieves the loss of the little girl who “never got to grow up to what she was meant to be”.

Philip Rahn BL, defending, said his client suffered from a number of health difficulties including depression, high blood pressure and severe back pain.

He said Gibson had been “very publicly shamed” in relation to his conviction and was on the Sex Offenders’ Register.

The court heard that Gibson is now retired and lives in a structured and supervised community within the Christian Brothers, where he is subject to the organisation’s Safety Plan. Judge Elma Sheahan adjourned the case until April 1 for finalisation.