Paedophile ex-garda abused boys with polio

On January 19, 2013, in Child Abuse, by Paddy

Saturday, January 19, 2013

By Jimmy Woulfe, Mid-West Correspondent

An 82-year-old paedophile and former garda was jailed yesterday as a judge said prison would give him time to reflect on his awful sexual abuse of four boys 50 years ago, two of whom suffered from polio.
John Joseph (Jack) Dunne, when based at Pearse St Garda Station in Dublin, indecently assaulted the boys aged between nine and 14 between 1963 and 1969.

At the time he served as a Garda youth liaison officer and a scout leader, Limerick Circuit Court heard.

Dunne, who lives at Canon Breen Park, Thomondgate, Limerick, pleaded guilty to 14 counts last June. He was a garda from 1953 to 1976.

Much of the abuse was carried out in an upstairs dormitory in Pearse St Garda Station overlooking the grounds of Trinity College, where he lived.

The abuse was also carried out in the Phoenix Park, cinemas, scout camps and in his own car and involved touching private parts and mutual masturbation.

Dunne resigned from the Garda in 1972 under an indecent behaviour “cloud”.

He joined a religious order in 1976, but left and again abused a boy aged 12 in 1986.

Judge Carroll Moran said an aggravating factor was the enormous breach of trust by a garda who had ingratiated himself with parents of the victims.

Judge Moran said it was a particularly difficult case, given the age of the accused who had undergone sex therapy in the US to address his deviancy. He said the DPP was willing to have the matter dealt with summarily, which meant the DPP did not feel a lengthy prison sentence was necessary.

Accordingly he jailed Dunne for two years, and suspended the final 18 months.

Judge Moran said: “He has to serve a sentence of six months for the awful things he did.”

The court heard that two of Dunne’s victims were polio sufferers whom he recruited through his work with disabled scouts.

A native of Limerick, Dunne was a scout master from 1953 to 1976 and involved with a group for disabled children at a scout hall near Pearse St, then known as Westland Row.

The abuse first came to light following the publication of the Ryan report in 2009 when one of Dunne’s victim’s contacted gardaí.

In his victim impact statement one victim, now aged 58, who contracted polio as an infant, recalled how he met Dunne while on a train to Knock with the Polio Fellowship of Ireland.

He said the former garda was the scout leader with a group of disabled scouts from Dublin and invited the 10-year-old to join the troop when they got back to Dublin.

The victim, who has been in a wheelchair for four years, said he was first abused by Dunne during an overnight stay in the scout den, when Dunne put his hand down his pyjamas and touched his private parts.

The victim said: “Jack Dunne was in a position of trust, he was a scout leader, a garda, a person of power. He abused that power and hid behind his so-called good works. I now see him as a bad person who used that trust and his position to gain access to young boys.”

Another victim, now aged 56, told the court he met Dunne through his hospitalisation for polio.

In his victim impact statement he claimed Dunne had visited a particular ward at a children’s hospital in Dublin “especially to recruit new victims”.

He said he was abused by Dunne in his car near his home in Dublin, and also in Pearse St Garda Station and at the annual scout camp: “He [Dunne] had free access everywhere he went no body questioned his word… he was seen as the good garda looking after the poor little handicapped kids.”

The court heard Dunne met his two other victims, two brothers from Dublin, at a swimming gala organised by the scouts.

Dunne brought one of the boys to play snooker in Pearse St Station and cooked him a fry, then put his hand down his pants and fondled his penis.

Defence counsel Mark Nicholas said his client’s behaviour was “disgraceful and unforgivable” but said Dunne, who joined a religious order after he left the gardaí, had sought help for his problems in the US 20 years ago.

Outside the court, Annette Strachan of Rape Crisis Mid-West who sat with some of the victims in court said: “We are pleased it is over and feel justice in a sense has been done. Just because that man was in advanced age does not mean he can get away with something he had done in the past.”