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Seven victims of paedo rugby coach John McClean suing over sex abuse at Terenure College

More victims of coach's sordid abuse over three decades come forward

Former coach John McClean was sentenced to eight years for abusing 23 pupils

Patrick O'Connell

Seven victims of paedophile rugby coach John McClean are now suing in the High Court over his sexual abuse of students at Terenure College in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Records obtained by the Sunday World show proceedings for a seventh victim were issued in the High Court against the pervert, the Board of Management of Terenure College and the Irish Province of the Order of the Carmelites, Michael Troy on Thursday of this week.

Six cases were initiated in the High Court against McClean between the start of 2019 and the end of 2021. Terenure College has been named as a co-defendant in six of the seven cases.

McClean is serving an eight-year sentence for indecently and sexually abusing 23 children over 17 years.

The former rugby coach and English teacher, of Casimir Avenue, Harold's Cross, in Dublin, admitted abusing the boys in the 1970s, '80s and '90s at Terenure College.

The 76-year-old was also involved in fitting costumes on boys for school plays.

A Garda investigation into his abuse of children is continuing as more victims come forward.

McClean abused nine victims in an office, eight during preparation for school plays, three during sporting activities and three in the classroom. The children were aged between 12 and 16 at the time.

In their victim impact statements, the boys, now men in their 40s and 50s, spoke of how the abuse damaged their lives.

When interviewed by gardaí, McClean denied the abuse, but pleaded guilty to these charges when arraigned in November 2020.

Sentencing McClean in February of last year, Judge Pauline Codd praised the victims for their "immense courage and strength" in coming forward, saying they had "found their voice".

She said McClean showed "mind blowing and brazen arrogance" as he abused his position of trust.

He exploited the culture of the time that silenced the child, she said, and used false moral dilemmas and insidious threats while acting with impunity.

Speaking out after McClean was sentenced, one survivor of McClean's abuse, called on Terenure College to reflect, saying "the dogs in the street were barking about this particular individual" for the time he was there, but he was still left there. He asked: "why they sat on it for so long?"

After McClean was sentenced, Terenure College and The Carmelite Order apologised to the victims and their families for failing in their duty to protect them.

In a statement it said: "Fr Éanna Ó hÓbáin, Principal of Terenure College, and Fr Michael Troy, Provincial of the Carmelite Order in Ireland, acknowledge the courage of the men who gave harrowing accounts to the court of the abuse they suffered.

"They recognise the devastating and long-lasting impact this has had on the lives of the victims and survivors and the lives of their families and friends.

"Fr Ó hÓbáin and Fr Troy said that on behalf of Terenure College and the Carmelite Order they are deeply sorry and apologise unreservedly to the former pupils who were abused as young students.

"We understand that words of apology are never adequate when people have experienced so much pain and suffering over many years.

"These men were entrusted to our care when starting out in life - young boys full of hope, promise and joy. They had that hope and promise cruelly taken from them as a result of the sexual abuse perpetrated upon them by John McClean.

"Terenure College and the Carmelite Order failed in their duty to protect them and for this we are truly sorry."

The school and the order also said they fully cooperate with Gardaí and all relevant authorities in child protection matters.

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