Former scout leader jailed for abuse of boys

A former Dublin Scout leader who sexually abused six young boys on camping trips in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s has been jailed for four and a half years.

David O’Brien, 63, would open the boys’ sleeping bags, reach under their pyjamas, and fondle their privates.

At Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, O’Brien, of Benburb St, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of indecently assaulting six males in Dublin, Kilkenny, and Cork between 1975 and 1980. He has no previous convictions.

Judge Martin Nolan noted the “harrowing” victim impact reports handed in by the men in which several described being suicidal throughout their lives as a result of O’Brien’s abuse.

One survivor said that the scouts were “a hunting ground for [O’Brien’s] depraved pleasure”.

The judge observed that the offences took place in the ‘70s and early ‘80s and the maximum sentence that could be handed down for any individual offence was two years because of the law that was in force at the time.

However, he said it was within the court’s discretion to impose consecutive sentences. He imposed three consecutive sentences of two years and suspended the final 18 months.

Garda White told Gerardine Small, prosecuting, that gardaí and the HSE were notified by O’Brien’s counsellor after he admitted sexually abusing young boy scouts more than 30 years ago.

She said the now adult victims were contacted and each gave garda statements in 2014. She agreed with Michael Bowman, defending, that O’Brien leads an isolated life, is a chronic alcoholic, and has had “a multiplicity of inpatient stays” at psychiatric institutions.

The garda further agreed that O’Brien, a former postman, suffered a breakdown in his 30s and had not abused boys since the 1980s.

One male, now aged 52, read a moving victim impact statement to the court in which he described how he has battled with depression, addiction and social anxiety for decades due to the abuse.

He described O’Brien’s assaults and said he had been suicidal and suffered nightmares and sleepless nights for decades, adding: “I just want one fucking day without David O’Brien.”

Another man took the witness box to read his victim impact statement, in which he described himself as a “survivor” with stability now at the age of 50.

He revealed he had been suicidal and had a “lifelong struggle” with depression and alcohol, but he “takes some comfort” that O’Brien will be jailed.


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