He lured young band mem­bers into his tent, on the pre­text of ex­am­in­ing them for ticks

FOR­MER GUID­ANCE COUN­SEL­LOR AND SE­RIAL PAE­DOPHILE JAILED

Bray People - - ABOUT GREYSTONES -

A SE­RIAL pae­dophile was jailed for four years last week for the ‘cold and cal­cu­lat­ing sys­tem­atic abuse' of a young boy.

Michael Byrne (76) of Rosewell, Tem­plerainey, Ark­low, pleaded guilty to four sam­ple charges of in­de­cently as­sault­ing Cor­mac Walsh at Clif­den in Galway on a date un­known be­tween Jan­uary 1, 1975 and De­cem­ber 31, 1975; at Tem­plerainey be­tween April 1, 1976 and June 30, 1976; at Tem­plerainey be­tween Jan­uary 1, 1977 and March 31, 1977 and at the Band Hall, South Green, Ark­low be­tween Jan­uary 1, 1976 and March 4, 1978.

De­tec­tive Paul Comiskey said Mr. Walsh is now 52 years old and the of­fences oc­curred when he was aged be­tween 11 years and 15 years. Mr. Walsh's first mem­ory of meet­ing Byrne, who was a found­ing mem­ber of the Ark­low Sil­ver Band, was when he was eight years old.

Byrne gave him two bars of choco­late on that oc­ca­sion. Two years later, in 1973, Mr. Walsh joined the Ark­low Sil­ver Band at the age of ten.

Byrne, who was a guid­ance coun­sel­lor at Abbey Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Wick­low town for more than 15 years, brought a num­ber of young boys from the band on a two-week camp­ing trip in Clif­den, Co. Galway.

Byrne had a tent to him­self and would call the boys into the tent one by one on the pre­text of ex­am­in­ing them for ticks.

While in the tent he would take down Mr. Walsh's trousers and un­der­wear and touch his pri­vate parts.

This hap­pened daily dur­ing the camp­ing trip and again on other oc­ca­sions in the fol­low­ing two years.

The court heard that Byrne also told Mr. Walsh that doc­tors re­quired reg­u­lar sperm sam­ples from him fol­low­ing an oper­a­tion, and for two years, would reg­u­larly col­lect such sam­ples from him.

The abuse fiz­zled out as Mr. Walsh be­came older and he never dis­cussed it un­til in Novem­ber 2006 when he broke down and told his wife. Af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing men­tal health prob- lems as a re­sult of the abuse he ar­ranged a meet­ing to con­front Byrne, a meet­ing which he se­cretly recorded. Dur­ing this meet­ing Byrne ad­mit­ted to the abuse.

Byrne, the court heard, re­ceived a sus­pended sen­tence in 1973 for four counts of in­de­cency on a male be­tween Oc­to­ber 1971 and Oc­to­ber 1972. Judge Michael O'Shea sen­tenced Byrne to two years im­pris­on­ment on each of the four charges and di­rected that they run con­sec­u­tively.

He sus­pended the fi­nal four years of the sen­tence.

He said Cor­mac Walsh was ‘an in­no­cent; only a child' at the time of the abuse and said Mr. Walsh had taken a very brave step in reporting the abuse. He said the ef­fects of Byrne's sex­ual abuse has ‘scarred Cor­mac Walsh for life ‘de­scrib­ing the abuse as ‘cold, cal­cu­lat­ing, pre­med­i­tated, re­volt­ing, dis­gust­ing, hor­rific, em­bar­rass­ing and hu­mil­i­at­ing’.

Se­rial pae­dophile Michael Byrne was jailed for four years for the abuse of a young boy.

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