Christian Brother jailed for sexual assaults in deaf school

A former Christian Brother who sexually abused three teenage students in the deaf school he worked in has been sentenced to 12 years with the last three suspended.

Each of John McCabe’s victims waived their right to anonymity so that their abuser could be named in the media. Each of the victims are deaf and attended St Joseph’s National School in Cabra in the eighties.

McCabe (aged 53) of Kilshane Cross, North Road, Finglas is now a married man with a nine-year-old child. He was 24 years old when he abused the boys who were then aged between 13 and 14 years old.

McCabe pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to six counts of indecent assault of the boys on dates between May 1, 1983 and July 31, 1984. He has no previous convictions.

The evidence was interpreted to the three men, now in their forties, through a sign language interpreter which they organised themselves.

Judge Martin Nolan described the evidence as “graphic” and the crime as “horrendous” and “extremely serious”.

He said the teenagers were “vulnerable and isolated children” as a result of their “isolating condition”. He said McCabe took advantage of this.

“He suffered a grievous lapse of judgement and used these boys as a source of sexual gratification,” Judge Nolan said.

He added that McCabe’s actions represented a “breach of trust to the boys, his colleagues and his order”.

Judge Nolan imposed two consecutive terms of six years but suspended the final three years of the sentence having taking into account McCabe pleas of guilty, co-operation with gardaí and otherwise “blameless life”.

Detective Garda Liam McLoughlin told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, the abuse involved mutual masturbation and McCabe engaging in oral sex with the students who were under his care. There was also one incident of simulated anal sex.

The abuse first came to light in 2000 when one of the victims told his wife what had happened. She advised him to talk to his parents and the gardaí were later contacted.

This man had been abused once by McCabe around 1984. He went home the weekend he was molested with the intention of telling his parents but the brother’s car was already in the driveway when he got there.

McCabe had told the boy’s parents that the victim had misbehaved at school and the teenager’s father did not believe him when he later told him that McCabe had abused him.

McCabe initially denied the allegation in relation to this man when he was questioned in February 2007 but later made full admissions.

He also accepted in two further interview sessions, in April and November that year, that he had abused the other two victims. Those two men had made statements of complaint to gardaí earlier in 2007.

McCabe told gardaí he was ashamed and not proud of himself. He said he had been “unsure” of his sexuality at the time.

Victim impact statements were handed into court but not read out.

Det Gda McLoughlin agreed with Patrick Gageby SC, defending, (with Sean Guerin BL) that his client had co-operated fully with the gardaí and had accepted that he had breached the trust he had been given.

The garda accepted that McCabe’s pleas of guilty assisted his prosecution but added that there was substantial evidence against him.

Mr Gageby said his client suffers from Behcet’s Disease which affects the immune system. He later left the Christian Brothers and now lives a “modest life on disability allowance”.

He said a psychological report before the court concluded that his client “did not reach the diagnostic criteria for a paedophile”, is at a low risk of re-offending and has shown remorse, insight and regret for his actions.

Mr Gageby submitted that McCabe’s actions had been a “cluster of offending for two years out of the 50 years he has been on this earth”.

He told Judge Nolan that prison would be difficult for his client due to his medical condition.

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