NewsCrime Desk

Locals live in fear after vile paedo uncovered

Crime DeskBy Patrick O'Connell
Gerrard Cleere
Gerrard Cleere

A CONVICTED child rapist who set himself up as a dog-trainer under a fake name has pleaded to be allowed “live in peace” after locals discovered his horrific past.

Gerard Cleere – a former Redemptorist student priest and deputy head of a school in Leicester – set up home in an isolated pink cottage outside the village of Doon, Co. Limerick, last December.

Weeks later he began distributing fliers, advertising his dog training business, Positive Paws, under the name Gerard Shepherd.

Shocked locals this week contacted the Sunday World after the identity of the man they knew as Gerard Shepherd became known in the community and was revealed on the Oola Community News Facebook Page.

“We’re terrified,” one local told the Sunday World. “There are hundreds of children living in the vicinity of Doon. We want him to move on – people here don’t feel they are safe with someone with his past living in the community.”

However, Cleere this week pleaded with locals to allow him to continue living in the cottage.

“I want people to know that I am complying with Garda monitoring, that I have attended counselling courses, that I will never hurt another child,” he told our reporters.

“I am so angry with myself for what I did, I don’t like myself very much. I’m okay with the fact they know who I am, but I would plead with them to just let me live in my home in peace.

“I didn’t tell people who I was because I was afraid what is now happening would happen.

“I’m afraid to go back to my house in case I find it is burnt down or that my two dogs have been killed.

“I’m good at dog training and I only work with adults and their dogs, not children. The Gardaí know where I am. I attended the courses in prison and I’m trying to get on another course.

“I just hope people can accept there are two types of sex offender. There are the type who commit offences and they don’t care about the damage they have done.

“And then there are the type who are desperate to make sure they never offend again and who are genuinely sorry for what they have done.

“I am the second type. If people could see that I am complying with all the conditions of the sex offenders register and let me live here then that would lift a huge burden for me.”

Cleere (61), a native of Kilkenny town, was extradited from England in November of 2009, where he had been living at a Leicester halfway house for sex offenders, to stand trial in Galway.

During his trial Cleere denied he had buggered a child in Galway on a single unknown date between January 1, 1973, and December 30, 1974, but he did plead guilty at his two-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court in April to indecently assaulting the child.


A jury found him guilty of the more serious charge of buggery and Cleere was sentenced to five years in prison, with the final two-and-a-half years suspended.

Inspector Michael Coppinger told the sentencing hearing that Cleere’s victim, 46 at the time, had been deeply traumatised by the assault.

The two-day trial heard evidence that Cleere had been a first-year probationary priest at the Redemptorist monastery at Cluain Mhuire, Mervue, in Galway city, between 1972 and 1973.

He started calling to the boy’s home nearby, where he ingratiated himself with the boy’s parents.

The trial heard Cleere left the monastery after a year, but kept writing to the boy’s family. 

He called to their home unexpectedly a year later and sexually assaulted the boy after finding him home alone.

The inspector said Cleere had a previous conviction for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy while teaching in England and he had received a two-year sentence on August 2, 2004, for that offence, with 18 months of post-release supervision.

Cleere took photographs of the boy at various stages of undress. He rubbed him with baby oil and would make him lick cream off his fingers.

A report handed into court from Senior Constable John Norton of the Leicester Public Protection Management Team stated that Cleere was highly manipulative of parents and children, and that concerns of him re-offending still remained.

However, reports from a forensic psychiatrist and a counsellor disagreed, stating Cleere posed a reduced risk of re-offending .

The counsellor had found that Cleere was homosexual and had been in denial about his sexual orientation all of his life, even entering into a brief marriage in the 1990s.