Rugby coach to be sentenced for abusing multiple victims at Dublin school

by Gazette Reporter

A Rugby coach who abused 23 pupils at a Dublin fee-paying school is “evil personified” and “the devil”, his victims have told Dublin Circuit Court.

John McClean, 76, is due to be sentenced after pleading guilty to 27 charges of indecently assaulting the schoolboys at Terenure College between 1974 and 1990.

The victims were aged from 12 to 17 and several were abused multiple times by the English teacher who went on to coach rugby at UCD.

It is understood that a garda probe is continuing as more people come forward with complaints against McClean.

One victim asked whether the 23 former pupils who have come forward so far are the “tip of the iceberg”.

The court also heard that McClean, of Casimir Avenue, Harold’s Cross, admitted the sexual abuse to a senior priest 25 years ago.

The court heard that a father of one of the victims brought his son’s abuse allegation to the attention of a senior member of the Carmelite community in 1996 while McClean was still working at the school.

The court heard Fr Robert Kelly made a statement to gardaí.

Inspector Jason Miley agreed that the priest had taken notes at the time in which it stated that he discussed the alleged abuse with John McClean.

The notes said that McClean admitted the abuse, the court heard.

The court also heard that Fr Kelly told gardaí that he had no specific memory of this encounter but accepted that if it was recorded in the notes then it is true.

McClean, who denied the charges before changing his plea last November, will be sentenced this Thursday February 18.

The first reported incident occurred around 1974 when McClean abused a 12-year-old pupil as the boy was trying to get a copybook back from him.

That same year another pupil, 14, was assaulted by McClean during an after-school study period. McClean went on to abuse him on a number of occasions.

A different boy, 13, was abused the following year when the sports coach asked to see him following a sports injury.

In late 1975 another pupil, 12, hurt his ankle while playing rugby and McClean later molested the boy on the pretence of assessing the injury.

Harrowing victim impact statements were read into the court record at a two-day sentencing hearing last week.

One described John McClean as “evil personified” and said his mother had once called him the devil when he was younger for misbehaving.

He added: “I’ve realised all those years my mum was wrong. I am not the devil. I crossed paths with the devil in Terenure College.”

Related Articles