Alleged sex assault in school sick bay

Tadhg O'Dalaigh: Dean of discipline at the time

A boarding school student in 1979 described in court yesterday how he was indecently assaulted in the sick bay by a priest who was also dean of discipline.

This was the allegation made against the accused man, Tadhg O’Dalaigh, aged 70, of Woodview, Mount Merrion Avenue, Blackrock, Dublin, who denied yesterday he indecently assaulted the boy on a date in March or April 1979.

The charge stated that, on that occasion, the defendant masturbated the student until he ejaculated at the sick bay of Colaiste An Chroí Naofa, Carraig na bhFear, Co Cork. O’Dalaigh pleaded not guilty. He was put on trial yesterday before Judge Donagh McDonagh and a jury of 10 men and two women.

Defence senior counsel Tom Creed asked the complainant why he did not leave the school and go to another school if he was in such fear, trepidation, and stress after the alleged indecent assault.

He replied: “I didn’t feel I could. I still am quite embarrassed and ashamed about what happened and I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t able to do it. I regret not doing it, but I just wasn’t able to do it.”

In his direct evidence to prosecution barrister, Pearse Sreenan, the complainant testified that his parents sent him to the Carraig na bhFear school because they thought the education was better there. He went to boarding school there in 1978 after his Inter Cert and recalled getting an infection of his ears and throat at Easter 1979 and was told to go to the sick back.

“I was quite sick basically,” he said. “I just went to sleep, but in the middle of the night I woke up and Fr Daly was beside my bed. His hands were under the bed clothes. He was touching me. I was shocked. I didn’t know what was going on.

“I knew what had happened. I knew where is hand was . . . His hand was on my penis. I was wearing pyjamas. Basically it [his penis] was out of the fly opening. He was holding it and rubbing it.

“I had been asleep. I woke up and this was happening. I didn’t know what to do so I kind of stayed still.”

The complainant ejaculated as a result of being masturbated by O’Dalaigh, he told Judge Donagh McDonagh and the jury.

The case continues today at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.


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