Victims tell of lives destroyed by a Christian Brother

Dark stories of young lives wrecked by a Christian Brother during the reign of sexual terror he waged on primary school boys unfolded at Limerick Circuit Court yesterday.

Judge Tom O’Donnell described the damage caused by former Christian Brother James Treacy as being like a nuclear fallout.

During his years as a religious order teacher, James, also known as Seamus, Treacy, now with an address at Ashton Close, Swords, Co Dublin, ruled by fear and sexual violence. Yesterday, he came face to face with some of his victims in a crowded courtroom.

Treacy had been found guilty by a jury of indecently assaulting four boys.

One attack involved a violent anal rape in a school toilet.

The other assaults were carried out as Treacy moved around the classroom, moving his hands from under his cassock to fondle boys.

State prosecutor John O’Sullivan told the court, Treacy, a brother of former international soccer player Ray Treacy, had previous convictions for indecent assault, which meant that, in all, he indecently assaulted 11 boys a total of 47 times during the time he taught them in fourth class in the years from 1978 to 1981.

One victim, addressing the court in the witness box, said: “From the first day you saw fit to treat me like a piece of meat and a pawn in your sick fantasies, my family lost me. I lost myself. You destroyed my relationship with all my family because, as a 10-year-old, I believed you when you said it was my fault. I was dirty. It was God punishing me for smoking.

“You knew my mammy was ill and you used to frighten me into keeping your dirty, perverted secret. You told me that my mammy would die if I told anyone because it was my fault.

"I have a vivid memory of coming home from school and I saw an ambulance outside my house. I wet my pants in fear thinking that my mum had died and someone had found out that I had sinned like you said and knew what happened to me. I was a child. I believed if my mammy died it was going to be my fault.

“My mother died when I was 14.”

Another former victim of Treacy’s told the court: “I have no close friends and I have never trusted anyone. I am still afraid to sleep in the dark and I wet the bed until I was in my early 20s. I have thought about taking my own life over the years.”

He said the memories of Treacy’s abuse would stay with him to the grave.

Another told of counselling he has been getting for years, adding: “My emotions were stunted and, after keeping dark secrets for many years, I felt it hard to share my feelings with others.”

A fourth victim said his life started to change in 2006 when Det Garda Dave Nolan contacted him about an investigation they were carrying out into Treacy.

He said: “I was able then to tell my wife about the abuse and that was the first day in my recovery process, which continues to this day.”

He recalled how he started drinking as a teenager to deal with the pain of the abuse.

“He has shown no remorse or emotion for the crimes he has inflicted on me,” he said.

Judge O’Donnell said: “This is extremely emotive and the victim impact statements were extremely profound.”

He said he hoped that the opportunity for the victims to address the court on the impact of the abuse by Treacy would help them.

Judge O’Donnell said it was clear from one of the victims that as a result of Treacy’s abuse, relationships within the victims’ family had been fatally affected with a nuclear affect. He expressed the hope that the conviction of Treacy may help this victim restore trust and that his family could come together again.

He remanded Treacy in custody for sentence on July 28.


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