The Education Minister Richard Bruton has said an alleged sexual assault of a student at an exclusive boarding school in Dublin is very disturbing.
A 13-year-old boy was allegedly sexually assaulted last Thursday by eight other pupils at Kings Hospital school in Palmerstown in Dublin.
Detectives are looking for witnesses at the west Dublin co-ed school to come forward and are investigating whether any similar alleged attacks occurred to other young boys.
The alleged attack is thought to have occurred last Thursday evening. The matter was reported by the school to the gardaí on Tuesday. The intervening period will form part of the garda investigation.
Minister Bruton said the Garda investigation will look at whether there was any delay by the school in reporting the incident.
The Minister said he would also make sure schools are fully advised about their responsibilities in these cases.
"The alleged incident is very disturbing...Authories are now investigting this (the Gardaí and Tusla) and we need to give time for those investigations to take place," he said.
"Clearly any parent would be very worried about an incident such as this."
King’s Hospital can house 300 boarders, in six houses. One of the boys’ houses is for first, third and fifth years, while another is for second, fourth and fifth years. Basic boarding fees are €16,000-€20,000 a year.
Additional reporting by
Update 5.46pm: The Dublin school at the centre of recent sexual assault allegations has issued a statement this evening.
Detectives are looking for witnesses following allegations that 13-year-old boy was sexually assaulted last Thursday by eight other pupils at Kings Hospital school in Palmerstown.
“An Garda Síochána and TUSLA are currently investigating an alleged incident which occurred at The King's Hospital School on 24 November 2016,” the statement read.
“We cannot make any statement which might prejudice those investigations. However, it is imperative that certain inaccuracies reported in the media which have caused understandable anxiety to parents of our pupils and to the wider public are corrected.
“The safety, health and welfare of the student concerned, and all students have from the very outset been and will continue to be the priority for every member of staff at The King's Hospital.
“The management and staff have actioned the correct procedures and requirements, including liaising with the appropriate agencies.
“We also ensured that the parents of the alleged victim and of the students allegedly involved were briefed as soon as possible.
“At no stage did the management and staff fail to act on legal advice. Neither did the school seek advice from the State agencies by using hypothetical scenarios.
“The King's Hospital will not make any further comment until the investigations are complete.”