Retired brother sexually abused boys over 40 years

Irish Times
June 26, 2004

An 89-year-old retired Brother of Charity who sexually abused boys in his care over a 40-year period was yesterday given a three-year suspended jail sentence.

He had pleaded guilty to 17 sample counts of abusing two boys at a home run for boys with learning difficulties at Lota in Cork more than 25 years ago.

James Redmond - also known as Brother Eunan - from St Vincent's Park, Belmont, Waterford, was first complained of in 1939 when he was caught sexually assaulting a boy. He was caught on occasions after that, but it was not until 1984 that he was removed from all contact with boys, Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard yesterday.

Details of Brother Eunan's history of sexual abuse emerged through a psychiatric report prepared for his defence by Dr David Dunne, who reported that Brother Eunan spoke openly about how he first abused a 12-year-old boy at a home in England in 1936, and then intermittently abused boys over 40 years.

Earlier, Insp Senan Ryan told how Brother Eunan used to go into dormitories at Lota when the boys were asleep and select one to bring out and sexually abuse. Some of the abuse happened on cycling and camping trips.

The abuse in the case of the two injured parties began when they were aged 10 or 11 and continued until they were 16 or 17. In one case Brother Eunan pleaded guilty to 14 sample counts of abusing one boy between 1965 and 1972, while in the other he pleaded guilty to three sample counts of abusing the other boy between 1972 and 1979.

Insp Ryan said Brother Eunan had previously been convicted of similar abuse in Lota in 1997, when he was given a four-year sentence with three years suspended. He told Brother Eunan's counsel, Mr Patrick McCarthy SC, that the current charges had not been put against Brother Eunan at the time that he was sentenced for the other offences.

Brother Eunan took the witness box to apologise to those he had hurt.

"They can be divided into two groups, the children whom I abused who were dependent on me for their education and care and everything in their lives, and the people in my life, relatives, friends and fellow workers, who have been shocked and scandalised by what has happened," he said.

Brother Eunan is now confined to a home run by the order.

Judge Patrick Moran said Brother Eunan's abuse of such vulnerable boys was shocking, but he noted that if the present charges had been included in the 1997 case, he would not have increased that sentence. He also accepted that Brother Eunan was remorseful, had pleaded guilty, co-operated with gardaí and was unlikely to reoffend.

He said Brother Eunan was one of the oldest people to come before the courts for such offences, and taking his age as well as the other factors into account, he sentenced him to three years, but suspended it.

He ordered that Brother Eunan's name be placed on a register of sex offenders.



Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.