Franciscan brother gets six years for sex abuse

Irish Times
April 30, 1999

A Franciscan brother who sexually abused five boys has been jailed for six years by Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Brother Joseph Keegan was threatened in court after the sentence by one of his victims who shouted: "You know that six years you're serving. When you are let out I'll be waiting for you."

This victim also made an attempt to attack Keegan in the court at an earlier sitting and, as gardai tried to restrain him, he shouted at Judge White that the sentence was "sad". Relatives of the victims shouted at Keegan as he was led from the court. Keegan (57), of Broc House, Nutley Lane, Dublin, pleaded guilty to eight sample charges of gross indecency and sexual assault out of a total of 57 counts. The abuse had taken place over a nine-year period, 1973 to 1982, while Keegan was a coach for a boys' football team. Two altar boys were also abused by him.

Judge Michael White said Keegan had exploited the boys for his own selfish gratification and had abused trust placed in him by them, their parents and his order.

Judge White noted some of the victims were as young as seven and eight years. He said there were very serious aggravating circumstances in the case. The abuse had had a lifelong effect on the victims.

Keegan had preyed on very young boys, and there was a serious abuse of authority.

In mitigation, Keegan was of previous good character and had no previous convictions. He was now 57, and it was clear from psychiatric reports that he had a serious compulsive disorder. He had serious problems trying to deal with the celibate lifestyle, and the abuse had ended 17 years ago.

Judge White granted Keegan's defence team leave to appeal.



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