'let him rot' | 

Teacher’s victim reveals the toll on his life after abuse by pervert who ‘threw him in the bin’

Curran's conviction for abusing Bernard brings to a total of 10 the number of students he has been convicted of molesting in the school between 1966 and 1984

Bernard O’Hehir was 11 years old when he was abused by Patrick Curran

An 11 year old Bernard O’Hehir

Former schoolteacher Patrick Curran

Bernard O’Hehir was sexually abused as an 11-year-old by Patrick Curran

Patrick O'ConnellSunday World

A VICTIM of paedophile school teacher Patrick Curran today reveals how the vile child molester picked him up and threw him head-first into a class-room rubbish bin when he lashed out as the pervert abused him.

Monster Curran (77), a former schoolteacher at St John’s National School, Temple Street, Sligo, began a one-year sentence last Friday for abusing former pupil Bernard O’Hehir (then 11) in the school in 1984.

The prolific paedophile’s conviction for abusing Bernard brings to a total of 10 the number of students he has been convicted of molesting in the school between 1966 and 1984.

Former schoolteacher Patrick Curran

“I went through the whole of my life thinking I was no better than a piece of rubbish over what he did to me that day,” Bernard this week told the Sunday World.

“He had been grooming me for over a year.

“He’d sit me on his lap and give me money and sweets, all the time pretending he was this father figure or kindly uncle.

“I was just 11-years-old – I’m 40 now and I’m 5ft 7ins, so you can imagine how small I was back then.

“But, that day, when I hit him, because I knew what he was doing was wrong, he blitzed me with punches.

“Then, he picked me up, turned me upside down and threw me head-first into the rubbish bin. He had no more use for me when I wouldn’t let him do what he wanted – I was of no more value.

“Before he was sentenced last Friday, his legal team tried to get him out of prison by saying he was old now so prison would be an additional hardship for him on account of his age.

“But I say let him die in prison.

“What Patrick Curran did to me led me to more suicide attempts than I can count, drug addiction and homelessness.

“So, let him die in prison, let him rot in there, because I could have died alone on a doorstep so many times and he wouldn’t have lost a minute’s sleep over me.”

An 11 year old Bernard O’Hehir

Today, brave Bernard – who among numerous suicide attempts caused by the abuse tried to hang himself when he was just 12-years-old – also reveals how Curran:

  • Ran gardening classes after school in a bid to identify vulnerable children to abuse;
  • Kept the boot of his car filled with sweets and Taytos as he targeted new victims;
  • And warned Bernard his parents would ‘give him away’ if he ever told them about the abuse.

“I never knew about any of the other victims until I saw his picture in the paper in 2005 and later I saw a piece on the news saying he’d been convicted for abusing nine other pupils at the school,” Bernard continues.

“That shook me because nobody had come to me and asked me if I was being abused or told me they were being abused as well

“I won’t say I was shocked when I found out about the others but I was stunned.”

It would be another 11 years before Bernard, who was still in the depths of a drug dependency that began by sniffing solvents when he was just 12 years old, would go to the gardaí about his own hell at Curran’s hands.

Ultimately, Curran was charged with one count of indecent assault. He was not charged in relation to the grooming of Bernard in the year leading up to the assault.

Details of the sickening nature of the attack that day were revealed publicly for the first time in court on Friday of last week.

Curran, who was 48-years-old at the time, had begun grooming Bernard after one of his parents approached him and asked him to keep an eye on their 11-year-old son because he was having a difficult time due to the break-up of their marriage.

Curran began to comfort him and if other boys were mean to him he would tell them not to be.

Bernard O’Hehir was sexually abused as an 11-year-old by Patrick Curran

And he also invited Bernard along to gardening classes on the school grounds he organised and had a number of other boys already attending.

“He kept the boot of his car stuffed with Tayto and sweets for after – looking back now it was grooming plain and simple,” Bernard recalls.

At times he would stay back in Curran’s classroom and speak of the difficulties at home. Curran would try to console him. They would be alone in the room with the door closed.

“But everything I told him, he ultimately used against me,” Bernard said.

“I was a messer as a child and on one occasion my dad jokingly said he’d have to send me away if I didn’t behave myself.

“After I told Curran that, he held it over me telling my parents would get rid of me if I caused any more trouble.”

On the day of the sexual assault, when alone in the classroom, Curran asked Bernard if he wanted money. The next thing he says he remembers was Curran sitting close beside him.

The pervert teacher than began to touch him inappropriately while also touching himself and he then unzipped his trousers and tried to get Bernard to touch him through his underwear.

“I’d had enough, I knew it was wrong and I just wanted to get away and that’s when I slapped him.

“But instead of letting me go, he beat me up, turned me upside down and threw me in the bin.”

Curran’s previous convictions include 192 counts of indecently assaulting nine boys aged from eight to 12 between 1966 and 1984.

One of his former victims said that Curran had “played God” and picked the weakest children believing they would say nothing.

In sentencing Curran last week, Judge Keenan Johnson said the aggravating factor was the nature of the abuse, which was quite appalling for a teacher to behave in his manner.

He said it was an appalling breach of trust which had shattered Bernard’s confidence and greatly impacted his life. He sentenced him to two years, suspending the final year.

Shockingly, Bernard told us this week that he had been prepared to make another attempt on his own life if Curran had walked free from court without a jail sentence.

“I was just so tired of feeling like what he did to me didn’t matter,” he said. “But knowing he will wake up in prison tomorrow morning over what he did to me has changed that.

“And I’d urge any other people out there who have been abused to come forward. Don’t try to escape into drugs and darkness. I did that … it doesn’t work.”

  • Anyone affected by issued raised in this article can contact The Samaritans free on 116-123, or email jo@samaritans.ie or contact One in Four on 01 662 4070.

Today's Headlines

More Irish Crime

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos