Complaint of sexual assaults dropped after garda’s advice

by Staff Reporter

A complaint of repeated sexual assaults by a 13-year-old boy against a serial child abuser was dropped when a garda later advised the victim to do so.

Patrick O’Brien, now aged 78, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 15 counts of sexual assault, many of which involved oral and anal rape of the child. He also admitted three counts of committing acts of gross indecency.

The offending took place at O’Brien’s home at Knocklyon Road, Templeogue, Dublin and other locations in the city on dates between April 2002 and December 2003.

O’Brien, a former Church of Ireland lay worker, is currently serving a 13-year jail term imposed in 2016 after he pleaded guilty to the rape and molestation of 14 young boys over the course of 40 years.

In 1989, he received a suspended sentence for the sexual assault of a ten-year-old boy in 1982.

The victim first made allegations against O’Brien in 2002. Anne Rowland BL, prosecuting, told the court that “inexplicably nothing seems to have taken place” with the investigation at the time and this has “never been explained satisfactorily”.

In around 2010 gardai again approached the complainant who made a statement withdrawing the complaint. A file was sent to the DPP but because of the victim’s withdrawal statement, no prosecution was brought.

Inspector Barry Walsh agreed with Sean Guerin SC, defending, that it was on the advice of a former colleague of his that the complainant decided not to pursue charges.

The court heard the victim felt he might be held responsible because he had accepted gifts from O’Brien during the abuse.

Insp Walsh told the court that he came into the case in 2016. He met the victim and advised him that as a minor at the time of the offending he was under the age of consent.

A second file was sent to the DPP and prosecution followed. After his arrest O’Brien asked to hear the victim’s allegations and then told gardai: “I accept the main content of what he said and I am very sorry.”

The court heard that the victim was confused about his sexuality at the time and had met a man 20 years older than him.

This man, who is before the courts, introduced the victim to O’Brien and brought him to his house in Templeogue.

In a statement the victim said that the sexual activity with O’Brien changed his idea of normality.

He said he felt it was normal at the time but later realised it wasn’t.

“I felt degraded and dirty,” he said.

Mr Guerin told the court that his client had attended hundreds of hours of therapy and group therapy while in custody at Arbour Hill prison. O’Brien also participates in Sunday services as a choir singer and assists in a prison education programme.

The court heard also that around 2008 a relative of the victim demanded money from O’Brien to stay quiet about his offending. O’Brien paid this man a large sum of money and the man was later investigated for blackmail.

Mr Justice Paul Butler said he needed time to construct a sentence and adjourned the case to June 14 next.

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