Former Priest Abused Children While a Student at Maynooth

The Kerryman
January 23, 2008

John Brosnan, a former priest in the Kerry diocese, has pleaded guilty at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court to 53 counts of sexual assault against five members of the same family, aged between nine and 16 years, on dates between 1965 and 1973.

Mr Brosnan has already served four years in prison after he was convicted in 1997 of abusing five children in the Kerry area during the early 1980s.

John Brosnan appeared before Judge Carroll Moran at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court on Monday for sentencing.

The court heard Mr Brosnan carried out the abuse when he was aged in his early 20s and was studying in Maynooth to become a priest. The assaults happened when he was back in Kerry on holiday from college.

In all John Brosnan pleaded guilty to 53 counts of sexually assaulting the five children, two girls and two boys. Thirty two counts related to one child while 16 were related to another.

Details of the abuse the children suffered at the hands of the former priest were given to the court by Detective Garda John Evans who investigated the case after one of the victims went to gardai and made a complaint about John Brosnan in March 2006.

Det Garda Evans told the court that Mr Brosnan had begun abusing the children when they were about nine years of age and continued the abuse until they were in their mid teens. He then moved his attention to their younger siblings.

The court heard that the victims have suffered profound psychological effects from the abuse, with one of the victims suffering constant nightmares and another suffering from depression for his entire adult life.

A third victim has ?blacked out her entire childhood? the court was told.

Mr Brosnan's address and the location of the sexual assaults cannot be revealed in order to protect the identity and privacy of his victims.

Defence counsel John O'Sullivan QC told the court that John Brosnan is receiving counselling in Cork and has pledged not to re-offend. Detective Garda Evans said Mr Brosnan had been very helpful during the investigation and had made a full admission about the abuse.

Judge Carroll Moran said that, given the gravity of the case, he needed time to consider an appropriate sentence and adjourned sentencing until February 15.


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