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Historic Sexual Abuse Case Heard in Waterford

A historic sexual abuse case has been heard at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court concerning the abuse of a man who was fourteen years of age in 1976.

At Waterford Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Eugene O´Kelly was told the circumstances of a historic sexual abuse that took place on a scouting holiday in Cheekpoint – a small village on the confluence of the Rivers Suir and Barrow, twelve kilometres from the town of Waterford.

The court heard how, in June 1976, a group of teenage scouts had arrived in Waterford and were taken to Cheekpoint to set up camp by their scout leader – a man who is now in his 70s and who cannot be named in order to prevent the identify of his victim.

When the camp was set up, the scout leader beckoned one of the teenage boys towards his tent, pulled him inside and started tickling him. It was during this event that the fourteen-year-old boy was touched inappropriately by the scout leader.

The victim did not make a complaint about the historic sexual abuse until 2013, when he reported it to the gardaí. When questioned, the former scout leader admitted he may have touched the boy inappropriately and was charged with historic sexual abuse.

Judge O´Kelly was read a victim impact statement in which it was claimed that the boy had suffered nightmares as a result of the historic sexual assault and, in later life, had drunk heavily – causing the collapse of his business. The court also heard that the victim has taken anti-depressants for the past twenty-eight years.

The judge was told the former scout leader had resigned from his position on the board of management at UCC after admitting the offence and placed on the sexual offenders list. He has also paid the victim more than €7,500 compensation and issued a statement in which he said he was extremely sorry for what he had done.

Taking into account the historic sexual assault had taken place more than forty years ago and that the perpetrator had demonstrated a “significant element of remorse” following a “one-off incident”, the judge sentenced the former scout leader to fifteen months in prison and suspended the sentence for three years.