Sex assault victim lashes out at friar abuser

By Sean O'Driscoll
Irish Independent
April 23, 1999

A Franciscan brother who sexually abused five boys over a nine-year period was attacked by one of his victims in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Gardai and prison officers had to restrain the man, who earlier testified he had a nervous breakdown and became an alcoholic as a result of the abuse.

The court heard garda evidence that Brother Joseph Keegan's superiors in the Franciscan order knew about the abuse three years before a victim reported it to gardai.

Keegan (58), of Broc House, Nutley Lane, Dublin 4, pleaded guilty to eight sample counts of gross indecency and indecent assaults out of a total of 57.

Judge Michael White heard that Keegan abused two altar boys and three members of a football team he coached. All the boys were under 13 years of age.

Two of Keegan's victims walked out as he apologised for the suffering he caused and another shouted: ``Don't tell us you're sorry.''

One of the victims told the court that he came very close to slitting Keegan's throat with a knife. He then turned to Keegan and told him that he was very lucky to be alive.

Later nine gardai and prison officers formed a human shield around Keegan as he was taken into custody for sentencing on April 29.

Det Sgt Walter Kilcullen told prosecuting counsel Tom O'Connell that on many occasions, Keegan smuggled boys up to his room in the Franciscan monastery in Merchant's Quay and persuaded them to masturbate him.

His victims were also abused while having showers after football matches and on outings to Galway and Donegal.

Judge White heard evidence that two of the boys had tried to commit suicide since the abuse took place.

Det Sgt Kilcullen said the first named victim was a member of a football team organised by Keegan.

On Sundays, Keegan would tell one of the boys to come into a separate area of a changing room before sexually abusing them. One of the boys was abused over 100 times.

Det Sgt Kilcullen agreed with defence counsel Patrick McEntee that Keegan returned to Dublin from Rome for questioning and again for his arrest. He also agreed that gardai had no evidence that Keegan had threatened any of the boys.

Judge White remanded Keegan in custody until the adjournment date.



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