GAA COACH CHILD ABUSER GETS SEVEN MORE YEARS IN JAIL

The Sligo Champion - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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