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Tuesday 19 November 2019

Scout leader sex offender 'admitted 22 years ago to abuse of boys', court is told

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

A former Dublin scout leader and convicted sex abuser admitted 22 years ago to "molesting" young boys but was not prosecuted, a court has heard.

In 1997, David O'Brien (67) told gardai during their investigations into one of the victim's allegations that while he did not recall the alleged offences, he was not denying them.

He went on to tell gardai that he molested a number of other young boys in the scouts.

The court heard a file was submitted to the state solicitor, but there was a direction made not to prosecute.

Indecent

O'Brien, of Benburb Street, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to eight counts of indecent assault relating to four boys on dates between January 1, 1972 and December 31, 1981.

He was jailed for four-and-a-half years in October 2015 for sexually abusing six young boys on camping trips in the late 1970s and 1980s.

Det Gda Neil Plunkett told Dominic McGinn, prosecuting, that one of the victims in the case made a complaint to gardai in 1996 and O'Brien was interviewed the following year.

O'Brien told gardai that at that time he was "molesting" a number of young boys in the scouts and the molestations had been going on 10 years.

He left one scout group when a parent confronted him, but a friend got him into another.

Det Gda Plunkett said a file was submitted in 1997 to the state solicitor and a direction was made to not prosecute.

During an interview with gardai in 2016, O'Brien estimated he abused between 30 and 40 children while he was a scout leader.

In his victim impact statement, which he read out in court, the first victim said the abuse changed his life.

Padraig Dwyer, defending, asked the court to take into account that "had the system worked better" in 1997, "a lot of this" could have been dealt with a long time ago.

Mr Dwyer said he was under instructions from his client to apologise for his offending behaviour, and added that O'Brien accepted his "grave wrongs".

Judge Karen O'Connor remanded O'Brien in custody and adjourned the matter for sentencing on November 7.

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