Church volunteer raped 14 boys

A former lay worker with the Church of Ireland is due to be sentenced for the rape and molestation of 14 young boys over the course of 30 years.

Patrick O'Brien: Years of sexual abuse. Picture: Collins Courts

Patrick O’Brien, aged 76, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 48 sample counts of indecent assault, and three counts of sexual assault of the boys between 1977 and 2010 at locations including Kildare, Westmeath, Loughrea in Co Galway, and at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, where he worked as a volunteer.

O’Brien, with an address at Knocklyon Rd, Templeogue, Dublin, was previously sent forward for trial from Dublin District Court. Judge Cormac Dunne previously ruled that the media could identify the accused following an application by RTÉ at the district court.

All of the victims wish to preserve their anonymity. Four were present in court for the sentence hearing. Each man prepared a victim impact report but some indicated they did not want their statements read out.

It took over 30 minutes to read the charges in a sentence hearing taking place over two days to allow for all 14 statements of complaint to be read into the record.

Detective Garda Anthony Maloney outlined the abuse, which included open-mouth kissing, rape, attempted rape, oral rape, and mutual masturbation. There are at least two set of brothers among O’Brien’s victims.

The court heard O’Brien would bring the boys to his yacht, take them for driving lessons, or bring them to the office where he worked. He abused one boy once a week in a car wash after they were hidden from view while the vehicle was covered in foam.

O’Brien would often drop the boys home and regularly have dinner or drinks with their parents, having abused their child hours earlier.

O’Brien regularly came to the victims’ bedroom to “kiss them goodnight and tuck them in” but would then abuse them, usually touching their penis and then performing oral sex on them.

One man was first raped by O’Brien on the child’s parents’ bed. O’Brien blocked the bedroom door with a chair before stripping the child and himself.

This same victim was also raped in O’Brien’s mother’s home. The victim was introduced to O’Brien’s mother before O’Brien took him into the garage and abused him.

Another victim, who was first raped by O’Brien when he was nine, told gardaí that he was in pain for days afterwards. He said O’Brien reassured him while raping him, calling him a “good and brave boy”. He said when being raped by O’Brien on his boat, he closed his eyes “waiting for the morning to come” and tried to think about the fun he would have sailing the next day.

Det Gda Maloney said all the men were badly affected by the abuse. Two men who were raped by O’Brien told gardaí they were worried when they learned about Aids on the news as children and were terrified they were going to die.

One man, now 50, outlined in his victim impact report that he had never married and said that this was down to the abuse he suffered. He said he felt the chance to have a wife and family had passed him by.

Another victim said that he never wanted to have children because he did not want to be responsible for them after the abuse he suffered as a young boy.

The hearing continues.

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