Blanchardstown: Boy’s abuser has sentencing delayed amid ‘confusion’

by Sylvia Pownall

A former scout leader who abused a 12-year-old boy has had his sentencing delayed amid confusion over whether he accepts guilt.

Married father-of-five James ‘Jim’ Leddy (55), of Sheephill Avenue, Blanchardstown, was convicted of assaulting a young scout who he lured into his home on the pretence of teaching him first aid in 1981.

Leddy had denied the charges but was found guilty on all counts by majority verdict after a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last December.

Colm Bracken (51), who waived his right to anonymity, told how he attempted to take his life three decades after the abuse.

Mr Bracken said he decided to contact gardai in 2011 when he realised that Leddy was operating a private bus hire company with access to school children.

Judge Pauline Codd was due to sentence Leddy on Monday but adjourned it until October, pending a new probation report.

Defence counsel Fiona Murphy said Leddy had no recollection of the offences but accepted the verdict of the jury and knew he must take responsibility for his actions.

However, Judge Codd cited a previous Probation Service report saying that Leddy “adamantly denies” his guilt and said she could not pass down a sentencing without clarity on Leddy’s position.

The court heard Leddy was a former leader of the 49th Ardlea Scouts Troop when he indecently assaulted his neighbour, Colm Bracken, at Leddy’s former home in Artane.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Bracken said he could not comprehend how different life could have been had he not crossed paths with “a paedophile dressed as a scout leader”.

He said memories of the abuse were like a horror movie that played endlessly in his head “with no off or mute button”.

The court heard Mr Bracken worked seven days a week to try to distract himself and had spent several long periods in hospital, strapped to a bed on suicide watch.

In a statement to gardai in 2013, Leddy said he didn’t understand the accusations and didn’t remember anything.

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