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Victim tells ex-Terenure College child abuser John McClean ‘may you rot in hell’

The ex-Terenure College teacher will be sentenced today for abusing 22 boys at the school between 1971 and 1992

Former rugby coach, John McClean (73) of Casimir Avenue, Harold’s Cross, Dublin, leaves the Dublin District Court today after he was charged with more than 30 counts of assaulting schoolboys at Terenure College over a 17 year period. Pic Collins Courts.

Former teacher and rugby coach John McClean

Robin SchillerIndependent.ie

A victim of prolific child abuser John McClean has described him as a "monster" and told the former rugby coach in court: "May you rot in hell".

The ex-Terenure College teacher will be sentenced today for abusing 22 boys at the school between 1971 and 1992.

The victims were aged between 12 and 17 at the time and were targeted in McClean's office or under the pretence of him treating a rugby injury.

McClean (78), formerly of Casimir Avenue in Rathmines, Dublin 6, is already serving an eight-year jail term for the sexual abuse of 23 other boys at the school.

Yesteday he entered guilty pleas in relation to the abuse of 20 more boys, while last month he entered signed guilty pleas in relation to two other pupils.

It means he has now admitted to sexual abusing 45 pupils over the course of three decades at Terenure College where he worked as an English teacher and rugby coach.

Former teacher and rugby coach John McClean

Prosecutor Paul Murray SC said the main scenarios in which the abuse occurred where either in his office which he had as first year form master, or while alleging to treat sports injuries.

Five victims were in court today while another watched proceedings from the United States via video link.

Over the course of over three hours, it was outlined how McClean targeted vulnerable schoolboys he taught and coached, abusing some multiple times.

John McClean, who was nicknamed 'The Doc' during his time at the school, kept his head down and covered his face with his hand for most of the hearing.

One victim molested by McClean in the early 1980s described him as a "monster" and said he couldn't quantify the damage the abuse had done but said it had negatively impacted him.

Addressing the former teacher in court he said: "May you rot in hell for eternity. You are a monster.

"All you did was hurt innocent young boys who were vulnerable...you violated me because of your sickness."

The man added that he no longer sees McClean as a monster or demon, but instead as a sick old man who has no future.

Paul Kennedy, who was abused by McClean in the 1970s, waived his right to anonymity.

Now 60-years-old, he described the school at the time as a "very safe place; for paedophiles.

"We had several to choose from, or should I say, several we prayed would not choose to prey upon us," he added.

Mr Kennedy said incoming students were warned by older boys about who to avoid and that John McClean was one of them.

He told the court that McLean approached him after his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and told him: "You can rely on me".

This, he said, was the beginning of the grooming and the erosion of his innocence.

Mr Kennedy also described “the constant bullying, humiliation and sexual sleaze that was our daily lot in Terenure College, epitomised by John McClean”

Several of the victims spoke about coming forward after seeing another victim, Damien Hetherington, waive his right to anonymity after McClean was convicted in 2021 of abusing him nearly 50 years earlier.

One man targeted my McClean in the early 1970s described him as a "premeditated predator" who knew what he was doing.

Another man was abused multiple times by McClean in the late 1980s and early 1990s in his office.

On a separate occasion he suffered an ankle injury during a rugby match and was approached by McClean as the match was still going on.

He said the rugby coach rubbed his calf but then proceeded to put his hands up his rugby shorts and touch his genitals.

In a victim impact statement, the man outlined how the abuse had a long and lasting effect on him, and that it wasn't until he was in his mid-20s and his life turned around after meeting his now wife.

The man said he saw Mr Hetherington on the news encouraging other victims to come forward, and that they were not alone. He reported the abuse over a year later.

One former pupil who was aged 13 when abused in the mid 1980s said McClean told him to "be a good boy" and "come back to him" next week.

The man said he made sure never to come back.

He said in later years he tried to take his own life but managed to get through this with the help of friends whom he credits with saving his life.

Det Gda James Duffy, of Crumlin garda station, told prosecuting barrister Maddie Grant that McClean has 96 previous convictions, all for the abuse of former pupils at the school.

He accepted under cross-examination from Sean Guerin SC, defending, that in garda interviews the defendant said he couldn't remember most of the incidents but accepted that the victims would have no reason to make a false allegation.

A letter was also read out on McClean's behalf in which he apologised to the victims, saying it wasn't their fault but entirely his.

He also apologised to their parents for abusing the trust placed him, to the school, community and staff for the damage done, and to the hurt it has caused his own family and friends.

Mr Guerin said his client as a history of illness and that it could be seen from his physical appearance that "recent years have not been kind to him".

Judge Martin Nolan said he would consider sentencing overnight and adjourned the matter until this afternoon.

He also told Det Gda Duffy "well done guard" and added that it was a "fine investigation".

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