Brother of Charity jailed for two years for boy's sex abuse

Irish Times
July 14, 1999

A brother of Charity who sexually abused a 13-year-old boy he befriended at a prayer group was jailed for two years yesterday.

Denis Quirke was sentenced at Waterford Circuit Court after pleading guilty to seven specimen counts of sexual abuse over three years. He was charged with three counts of buggery, two of gross indecency and two of indecent assault against the boy at Belmont Park hospital, Waterford, between 1985 and 1987.

At a previous hearing on April 21st, the court was told that the victim had attempted suicide and changed his name. The abuse also took place when Quirke took the boy camping and he had given him alcohol, cigarettes, a bicycle, a pen and a watch.

Quirke was convicted and given an 18-month sentence at Clonmel Circuit Court in 1996 for similar offences, and had spent the last 10 years under virtual house arrest within the order after the abuse first came to light in 1990.

Det Garda Blackett told the court yesterday that the victim would face a long struggle to get his life back to normal.

The defendant started as a novice within the order in 1975 and was a novice master at Belmont when he came into contact with the boy through a prayer group.

The court heard that Quirke was a friend of the boy's family at the time. The victim had a difficult relationship with his father and he formed what he felt was a surrogate relationship with the accused.

Mr John O'Kelly, defending, said his client had made a statement in relation to the offences against legal advice and they only came to light because of that statement, which he gave openly. In 1990, Quirke had been taken away from any duties which would bring him into contact with children and was eventually placed working in the order's archives.

He said that while he would in no way try to minimise the offences, he called on the court to be as lenient as possible given that Quirke had been suffering for his crimes for the last 10 years.

The accused was also grieving for his father who died shortly after the offences came to light and he felt they had contributed to his father's death.

Judge Olive Buttimer said: "But I cannot ignore that you abused your position of trust. I cannot ignore the fact that you used alcohol on your victim."

She backdated the sentence to April 21st and refused the right to appeal.



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