Teacher to chal­lenge sex abuse find­ing

The Irish Times - - Home News -

A teacher who de­nies he said to a fe­male pupil: “Call me tonight at 10.30, I have the house to my­self”, has been given per­mis­sion by the High Court to chal­lenge a find­ing of child sex­ual abuse against him.

The teacher said he ac­tu­ally told the sec­ondary school stu­dent, as she was ex­it­ing a crowded class­room: “Stop call­ing me, my wife is get­ting wor­ried” which, he says, was “a ter­ri­ble joke”. He also de­nies slap­ping her bot­tom.

Yes­ter­day, Ms Jus­tice Caro­line Costello granted Frank Cal­lanan SC, for the teacher, leave to bring ju­di­cial re­view pro­ceed­ings against Tusla, the Child and Fam­ily Agency, to quash the find­ing of sex­ual abuse.

Coun­sel said the ap­pli­ca­tion was ur­gent be­cause af­ter Mon­day, the dead­line for the chal­lenge would have been passed.

That would mean the case could have then gone be­fore the Teach­ing Coun­cil as an un­chal­lenged and un­chal­lenge­able find­ing of sex­ual abuse, he said.

Al­le­ga­tions

Mr Cal­lanan said their case was, when a hear­ing took place into the al­le­ga­tions, the ap­peal com­mit­tee ac­corded too much weight to a pre­vi­ous al­le­ga­tion. This pre­vi­ous al­le­ga­tion was from 2011 when the teacher was ac­cused of putting his hand on a fe­male stu­dent at a mu­si­cal event, which he de­nied.

Fol­low­ing an in­quiry by his school, which also in­volved Tusla, there was no de­ter­mi­na­tion of sex­ual im­pro­pri­ety but there was a find­ing of in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­duct, coun­sel said.

As a re­sult, at the sug­ges­tion of Tusla and at the be­hest of the school, the teacher agreed to at­tend the Granada In­sti­tute for coun­selling.

Then, in 2015, the al­le­ga­tion in re­la­tion to the “call me tonight” re­mark was made and he was also ac­cused of slap­ping the stu­dent on the bot­tom. He de­nied he had slapped her but said he might have brushed against her.

How­ever, Mr Cal­lanan said, “what cooked his goose” was the 2011 al­le­ga­tion which the 2015 com­mit­tee treated as if it was a find­ing of sex­ual mis­con­duct.

The teacher has been sus­pended since the find­ing, he added.

Mr Jus­tice Costello said she was sat­is­fied to grant leave and re­turned the mat­ter to next week.

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