A schoolboy who was sexually assaulted by a primary school teacher when he was nine years old has urged other sex abuse victims to come forward and reveal what happened to them.

Daniel Kelleher said he would urge people to come forward and speak out about their experience.

Padraig Sheehan, his solicitor, said Mr Kelleher felt strongly that “survivors need to know they will be believed. He would like to encourage other survivors of abuse to come forward”.

Mr Kelleher said he had lived with this dark secret for 27 years but now wants to live a positive life.

Leo Hickey, aged 77, of Realt Na Mara, Skevanish, Innishannon, Co Cork, was yesterday jailed for three years, with the last two years suspended, for sexually assaulting him.

In his victim impact statement, Mr Kelleher said: “

At the age of nine my life path was altered when I was sexually abused by my then fourth class teacher, Leo Hickey.

Leo Hickey is led from the courthouse in Cork.
Leo Hickey is led from the courthouse in Cork.

“This had a devastating effect on me as I lived in the constant fear of when would be the next time I will be sexually abused. Normal daily tasks such as playing and doing homework became a major issue for me. I was afraid to tell anyone for years about this abuse because I was a small child.

“I felt so ashamed. I felt no one would believe me because he was my teacher, someone who everyone looked up to. I felt totally confused at what has been done to me. I could not get my thoughts around this vile act of a grown man abusing a 9-year-old boy.

“I found it an extremely difficult concept to understand. I went completely off track and began to abuse drugs. I spent my formative adolescent years abusing drugs and developing an addiction.

“My family continuously tried to veer me on to the right road but sadly my addiction won. To others I put on an exterior of a tough guy but inside I cried and hid my dirty secret. I tried and failed to trust anyone in my life over 27 years of pain and addiction.”

Mr Kelleher said he often wonders what his life would be like if he hadn’t been abused.

“I am not in any way trying to justify my own behaviour but I do believe that had my life been allowed to be the same as my brothers’ lives, I would be a productive member of society, giving due respect to all.

“I am so glad that this court case is over. I know I wish to walk forward and to make a decent life for my partner and my children. I remain in recovery and I plan to be an example to my children.

“I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude and thanks to Detective Garda Donal O’Connell who believed my darkest kept secret and in doing so freed me to live a respectful life and a positive one into the future.”


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