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Former teacher and sex offender jailed for another three years for sexually abusing three pupils

CourtsBy Sunday World
Seosamh O'Ceallaigh continues to deny abusing the children
Seosamh O'Ceallaigh continues to deny abusing the children

A former teacher and convicted sex offender has been jailed for another three years for sexually abusing three pupils.

Seosamh O'Ceallaigh (63), also know as Joseph Kelly, continues to deny abusing the children at Scoil Colm in Coolock, Dublin and rejects the guilty verdicts of the jury.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that as well as being a teacher in Dublin, he was also heavily involved in Irish Language colleges in the west of Ireland.

O'Ceallaigh of Beal An Daingin, Carraroe in Galway was convicted by a jury last month of sexually abusing or indecently assaulting the three boys at various locations including in the classroom, in his car and on school trips between 1977 and 1994. He had denied the charges.

Due to the law in place during the earlier abuse, the maximum sentence available for those offences was two years.

He is currently serving a ten year term imposed last year for grooming, raping and sexually abusing a young girl between 1982 and 1992.

During sentencing a Central Criminal Court judge said that he found it hard to hold tears back at some stages during the victim's account of the effect the abuse had on her.

The victim told that trial that when the man raped her at the age of 12 he treated it as a cause for celebration and told her he had finally achieved something he had been trying to do for a long time.

The three year term imposed today will begin after he completes his ten year sentence.

Today Detective Garda Jonathon Kelly told a sentencing hearing that the earliest abuse of a pupil happened when the victim was eight years old in 1977 and that it went on for a year.

O'Ceallaigh would call the boy up to the front of the class and “suggest things to him.” He would then put pebbles in the child's pocket and retrieve them while fondling the victim's genitals. He would also whisper to the child and nibble his ear.

On other occasions the teacher would bring the child for drives up the Dublin mountains. He would have the boy sit in his lap and pretend to steer the car while he “fondled” him. Other abuse would occur in the car on the way to Scoil Colm football games.

Prosecuting counsel Paul Carroll BL presented evidence that O'Ceallaigh was responsible for first aid in the school. He used this excuse to have one boy come into the classroom and drop his trousers before fondling him.

O'Ceallaigh abused a third child on a school trip to Galway. Several schoolboys were staying in a relative of O'Ceallaigh's one night. The teacher had one of the boys strip naked while he also stripped.

The teacher then molested the boy before taking his hand and “showing him how to masturbate”, the court was told.

Victim impact reports were read on behalf of the three victims. One man described how he used alcohol to try and forget the abuse and destroyed his life with drinking.

The second man said that he saw the abuse as “a truly shameful secret” but that it never broke him because of the support he had from his family. He said he hopes his evidence will stop O'Ceallaigh from abusing further victims.

The third victim said he still cannot believe what was done to him and that it is horrible to think that O'Ceallaigh will one day probably walk free.

“I will never forgive him for the extreme shame and trauma he had inflicted upon me,” he wrote.

Defence counsel Patrick McGrath SC said he is limited in what he can say in mitigation as O'Ceallaigh does not accept the verdict of the jury. He submitted that his client has a large number of health problems including heart disease and depression.

Counsel handed in references from O'Ceallaigh's family and friends and said that he retains the support of his wife. He asked Judge Patrick McCartan not to add to the ten year term he is serving.

Judge McCartan said O'Ceallaigh abused his position of trust and authority as shown in the “harrowing” victim impact reports.

He noted that the teacher didn't deny the allegations himself in court but instructed his counsel to accuse the victims of lying during cross-examination.

The judge said it was difficult to extend any degree of compassion towards O'Ceallaigh because he continues to deny the abuse.