Christian brother convicted of sexual assault

A Christian brother has been remanded in custody pending sentence after he admitted to sexually assaulting four students in an industrial school 45 years ago.

A Christian brother has been remanded in custody pending sentence after he admitted to sexually assaulting four students in an industrial school 45 years ago.

Stephen Allen (aged 77) with an address at Christian Brothers Provincial, Griffith Avenue, Marino, Dublin 9, molested the young teenage boys while they were working under his supervision in the kitchen of the school.

He pleaded guilty on the morning of his trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 21 counts of indecent assault on dates between 1961 and 1964.

Allen told gardaí in interview that he touched some of the boys in "a moment of weakness" and described it as "an affection that went out of control".

He said he could not understand the allegations and denied that he had been sexually abused himself as a child.

Judge Frank O'Donnell heard from victim impact statements from the men, now aged between 57 and 61 years old, that they had been significantly affected by Allen's abuse.

Inspector Paul Scott told Mr Fergal Kavanagh SC (with Ms Úna Ní Raifeartaigh BL), prosecuting, that one man was first contacted by gardaí after Allen named him as one of his victims.

The victim had never told anyone about the abuse, including his wife and lived in fear that someone would find out about it. He later attended counseling to try and deal with it but he stopped going to sessions because he had found it too difficult to recount events.

One man said he fled to England from Ireland as soon as he left the school but spent his whole life afraid that the brothers would find him and bring him back. He got married but has since divorced.

Another victim said he was full of anger because of Allen's abuse which had caused him "significant trouble". He had to attend anger management to try and deal with his issues.

Another man said that he emigrated to "escape the memories of the abuse" and although he got married and had many children he had difficulty interacting with his family.

Judge O'Donnell adjourned sentencing to next March after he revoked Allen's bail and remanded him in custody.

"It's a long time ago but the victims are still suffering," Judge O'Donnell said after he added that he needed time to consider the various reports before the court.

Mr Hugh Hartnett SC (with Mr Ronan Kennedy BL), defending, told Judge O'Donnell that his client wanted to apologise profusely to his victims and indicate his regret for his actions.

He said that Allen had worked for 10 years in Zambia where he helped to develop a community and asked Judge O'Donnell to take into account the good work his client had done in his time.

Mr Hartnett said a report from the Granada Institute stated that his client was at "a very low risk of re-offending" before he asked Judge O'Donnell to accept that the offences were at the lower end of the scale in relation to the sexual offences that come before the courts.

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