GAA COACH CHILD ABUSER GETS SEVEN MORE YEARS IN JAIL
A former GAA coach has received a second lengthy jail term for the sexual abuse of young boys.
Last Friday, Ronan McCormack (75) (pictured) of Cuppanagh, Cloonloo was jailed for seven years at the Circuit Court in Dublin for the multiple abuse of two boys in the 1970s.
This term starts immediately. McCormack was already serving a sentence for abusing five other boys in the 1980s while he was a GAA coach.
The court heard he was coming towards the end of that five year sentence and defence lawyers had asked the judge not to impose any extra time in custody because of his age and medical issues.
However Judge Martin Nolan said the pattern of “gravely reprehensible” behaviour required a severe sentence. He said a conservative estimate was that one of the boys had been abused between 60 and 100 times.
McCormack was first jailed for seven years and 10 months with the final two years suspended by Judge Petria McDonnell at Sligo Circuit Court following a trial on July 25 th, 2014. He lost an appeal against that sentence in July of this year. He was found guilty of 53 counts of indecently assaulting five boys aged between 10 and 13 at various locations between October 1981 and August 1986. He had denied the charges.
Last Friday he was jailed for seven years for multiple indecent assaults on two young boys in the 1970s. The victims - one of whom was abused up to 100 times - came forward after hearing he had gone on to abuse other boys a decade later.
Judge Nolan imposed consecutive sentences on four sample charges meaning McCormack will serve additional time in prison.
He was convicted of these offences after a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court earlier this year. He had pleaded not guilty to indecent assault on two brothers who were aged between 11 and 13 on dates between 1971 and 1973.
The abuse took place in the victims’ family home, in his car, on a boat and at a cinema. One of the brothers described the abuse as “a ritual”. McCormack molested the younger brother on three occasions.
In a victim impact statement the older brother said the two years of abuse he suffered from the age of 11 had a negative, ripple effect on his life and others.
His school work declined and later he suffered years of depression and missed career and relationship opportunities. He described these as “the lost years”.
He never confided in anyone, lost trust in men and suffered years of pain. He said he felt like he was damaged goods and would often wake from nightmares feeling he could smell his abuser’s body odour.
He said for a time he unfairly blamed his parents and despised them for been hoodwinked and manipulated by McCormack. It also affected his relationship with his brother whom he felt he had let down and had not protected.
He lived abroad for a long time in an effort to distance himself from what happened and his inaction would prey on him indefinitely.
“He has never offered an apology or shown remorse,” he added. He now wanted to shut the door on this traumatic experience and move on with his life, he said.
In August 1972, McCormack began abusing a second boy, who was known to the first victim. He molested this victim on three occasions.
In his statement the second man said that the abuse had left him with a lasting sense of insecurity.
He said he feels extremely distrustful of people and of friendship because he believes people might have ulterior motives.
Kathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting, told the court that the maximum penalty for indecent assault of a male in the 1970s was two years but that this increased to five years where there was a second conviction.
The court heard that the first brother had previously changed his mind about confronting the man after going to the family home and seeing a child’s swing and decided he had moved on. This was before the man’s later offending in the 1980s came to light with the 2014 conviction.
Passing sentence Judge Nolan said McCormack deserved punishment for what he did. He said he had abused the trust placed in him by the boys’ family. His abuse of the boys had serious consequences and what he did was “gravely reprehensible.”
The victims at his trial in 2014 told how the former Telecom Éireann worker, a father of three and farmer coached the under-12 team at Eastern Harps GAA Club in nearby Keash, indecently assaulted them in his home, in his car, at a breakfast table in his kitchen and on fishing and swimming trips to lakes and rivers,
On one occasion he abused a schoolboy when showing him a county championship medal which he won with the club.
He also brought his victims to matches in Croke Park but would insist they stay at his home the night before matches.