Lay worker who raped boys to be sentenced

Patrick O'Brien: Pleaded guilty to 48 counts of abuse.

A former lay worker with the Church of Ireland will be sentenced next month for the rape and molestation of 14 boys over the course of 30 years.

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.

O’Brien, with an address at Knocklyon Rd, Templeogue, Dublin, has one previous conviction for a sex assault of another boy in 1989, for which he got a one-year suspended sentence.

One of O’Brien’s youngest victims, who was raped as a nine-year-old boy, described himself in his victim impact report as “a lion without a roar”. He said he developed a shield and like a tortoise, a shell, to bury this “violent secret” inside.

One victim cycled to his local Garda station to report O’Brien a day after the man tried to rape him. When he arrived he got “cold feet” and felt intimidated. He was worried about the consequences for him if he reported it and decided to put the abuse to the back of his mind. O’Brien continued to abuse the boy in the months afterwards until the boy threatened to report or kill him.

The court heard O’Brien was first arrested in March 2014. In April 2014, O’Brien made a voluntary statement in which he agreed with the statements of his victims.

Sean Guerin, defending, told Judge Melanie Greally that his client had written a letter in which he said he wanted to apologise “unreservedly” for the breach of trust and the suffering the victims and their families endured. He acknowledged his “deep heartfelt regret and shame”.

Judge Melanie Greally remanded O’Brien in continuing custody to November 10, for sentence.


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