13 Aug 2022

Former school caretaker jailed for continuous sexual abuse of young boys

Former school caretaker jailed for continuous sexual abuse of young boys

A former caretaker at a boys school has being jailed for ten years for continuous sexual abuse of young boys at the school throughout the 1980s.

Bernard Browne (62) used the promise of small amounts of cash to entice the boys into situations where he would sexually molest them.

He would ejaculate while rubbing himself naked against them and convinced some of the children that he was only doing this to collect his sperm and donate it to childless couples.

Browne with a former address at Brighton Rd., Foxrock, Dublin pleaded guilty to nine counts of indecently assaulting three boys on dates between 1983 and 1990. The nine counts are samples charges from an indictment of 44 charges.

The offending took place at the CBS school on Richmond st., north in Dublin city and, later, at Browne's flat on Belvedere place, Dublin city.

Detective Garda Eoin Treacy told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Browne was between 25 and 28 when he began molesting the first victim, an 11-year-old boy. He had told the child he could earn some extra pocket money by helping him sweep and brought him to a shed at the back of the school where he molested him.

This boy told the second victim that Browne needed boys to stimulate him so he could sell his sperm to a donor bank and he would get money for it. The two boys went to Browne's flat and Browne lay each one down in turn on the floor, stripped them and rubbed himself against them until he climaxed.

The court heard these attacks occurred on a weekly basis.

Browne abused the third victim from 1987 to 1990 when the boy was aged 14 to 17. As an adult this victim told gardai that he innocently believed Browne's story that he was collecting his sperm to help couples who couldn't have babies.

He said he felt very scared during the abuse and didn't know “what the hell was going on”. He said Browne told the child his family would be wiped out if he told anyone about the abuse.

Judge Elma Sheahan noted the severe emotional distress expressed in the victim impact statements of each man.

She said the assaults led to the victims turning to alcohol and drug abuse to bury their torment. She noted the victims felt their education had being negatively affected and the abuse continued to cause an inter-generational damage.

“Each victim impact statement is loaded with the weight of psychological damage and upset,” she said, and said the men carried “a very heavy burden” to this day.

She said despite their own expressions of low self esteem they were impressive courageous individuals who had the inner strength to keep going.

She said Browne's assaults involved planning and he used a “sinister and cunning lie to manipulate young boys”. She said his position in the school, the breach of trust and the length of time were among the aggravating factors in the offending.

She said the mitigating factors are his guilty pleas, his remorse expressed through his lawyers at the sentence hearing and his age and ill health.

She suspended the final year of a ten year prison term on condition that Browne complete treatment programmes while in custody.

Before sentence was imposed Fiona Murphy SC, defending, told the court that her client is remorseful for his actions and the very serious impact of them. He told the court that there has been no offending since this abuse ended in 1990.

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