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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Court Case

Fourth complainant alleges he woke to find teacher sexually assaulting him

The court heard that after the alleged incident, the complaint ‘bottled it up and said nothing’ before telling his mother.

A FOURTH COMPLAINANT has told the trial of a man accused of sexually assaulting six young men that he was unsure if he was “in a dream or awake” when he woke to find his teacher allegedly sexually assaulting him.

The 59-year-old man, who can’t be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one count of sexual assault in relation to this complainant.

The now 45-year-old fourth complainant told Anne-Marie Lawlor SC, prosecuting, that he knew the accused as he was a teacher in his school. He said the accused may have taught him one class during his junior cycle.

The witness was involved in the school musicals when he was in his fourth and fifth year and had more contact with the accused man then.

When asked if he had ever socialised with the accused, he said, “yes, we would go to the pub”. He told the jury that the accused would buy alcohol for him.

He said that on some occasions, they would socialise in the evening, and other times, they would skip class on a Wednesday afternoon and go to a pub and consume alcohol.

He said there was one night in late 1995 when he and the accused drank approximately eight or nine pints. Later that night, the young man went back to the accused man’s house and stayed the night. They both slept in their boxer shorts and t-shirts.

The complainant said he woke early the following morning to find his boxer shorts had been pulled down, and it is alleged that the accused man was performing oral sex on him.

He described being in a state of shock and was delirious. He said, “I didn’t know if I was in a dream or awake”. He said he orgasmed and was then told by the accused man, “It’s your turn now”. The young man then performed oral sex on the teacher.

Ms Lawlor asked the witness if he had given consent to the accused man to allow him to “put his mouth on your penis”, to which the witness replied “no”. She further asked if “this occurred without any prior engagement with you”, to which he replied “yes”.

The witness told the jury that he got up, dressed himself and left. He said, “I wasn’t in a good space” and “I couldn’t process what had just happened”.

He said there was an element of “shock and shame, so I bottled it up and said nothing”.

Counsel asked the witness if, other than alcohol, he had used any other substances, to which he said, “yes, I was smoking cannabis, but it was mostly alcohol”.

The witness said he did not have any contact with the accused over the summer months. He said when he returned for his final year, he left after a number of hours. He went to the school principal and said, “I’m leaving, and I am not coming back”.

He said the principal tried to convince him not to leave the school and said if he left, he would have to tell his mother about his cannabis use.

He said he went home to his mother and said, “I have a few things I have to tell you”. He then described telling his mother “everything”.

The jury heard that the witness made a statement to the gardai in April 2019. He was asked by counsel why he had not come forward before this.

In response, he said: “I was ashamed, and after a year and a half of therapy, I had convinced myself that there was nothing to be ashamed about and not to bottle it up any longer.”

Michael O’Higgins, SC, defending, put it to the witness that on the night of the alleged assault, there was “an embrace between you and my client. You had an erection and that my client went down on you and you ejaculated”. The witness denied these claims.

Defence counsel said, “Can I suggest that my client never put you under pressure to perform any sexual activity?” to which the witness disagreed.

He also put it to the complainant that there was no getting away from the fact that the accused man was his teacher and said it was “highly undesirable that a teacher would be engaging in sexual activity with a pupil even if they had reached the age of consent”, to which the witness agreed.

Mr Higgins suggested that “all sexual activity between my client and you was consensual”, which the witness disagreed with.

The witness accepted that he had used other drugs at the time, such as LSD and ecstasy, and this was done completely independently.

Counsel put it to the witness that he has been involved in a civil case against his teacher which he accepted.

The accused man has pleaded not guilty to one count of attempted anal rape and eight counts of sexual assault on dates between March 1991 and November 1997 at locations in Co Dublin.

The man was in his 30s at the time of the alleged offences, while the complainants were then aged between 17 and 24.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Alexander Owens and the jury.