A FORMER Garda and scout master abused young boys when he was in charge of a special scout troop for disabled children, Limerick Circuit Court has been told. John Joseph (Jack) Dunne, formerly based at Pearse Street Garda Station in Dublin pleaded guilty to 14 counts of indecent assault on young boys in Dublin on dates unknown between 1963 and 1969.
The court heard that two of Dunne’s victims were polio sufferers whom he contacted through his work with a group of disabled scouts.
The now 82-year-old, who lives at Cannon Breen Park, Thomondgate, Limerick, indecently assaulted two of his victims at Pearse Street Garda Station, where he worked as Juvenile Liason Officer, while other indecent assaults took place at scout camps in Dublin and Waterford, and in his car after he dropped the boys home from scout meetings.
In his evidence Sargent Martin Philips from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Harcourt Square, Dublin, said Dunne resigned from the force in 1976 when he was the subject of allegation of indecency but no charges were brought.
A native of Limerick city, Dunne was a Scout Master from 1953 to 1976 and involved with a special group for disabled children at a scout hall near Pearse Street which was then known as Westland Row.
Judge Carroll Moran was told the sexual abuse first came to light after the publication of the Ryan Report in 2009 when one of Dunne’s victim’s contacted gardai.
In his victim impact statement, the now 58-year-old, who contracted polio when he was six months old, recalled how he met Dunne while on a train to Knock with the Polio Fellowship of Ireland.
He said the former Garda was the scout leader with a group of disabled scouts from Dublin and he invited the ten-year-old to join the troop when they got back to Dublin.
The victim, who is confined to a wheelchair for the past four years, said he was first abused during an overnight stay in the scout den, when Dunne put his hand down his pyjamas and started touching his private parts.
The victim also recalled incidents of abuse where he was kissed and fondled by the former Garda during a trip to the cinema and on another occasion in the Phoenix Park when Dunne gave him a lift home from the scouts.
“Jack Dunne was in a position of trust; he was a Scout Leader; a Garda and a person of power. He abused that power and hid behind his so-called good works. I now see him as a bad person who used that trust and his position to gain access to young boys,” the victim said.
Another victim, who is now aged 56, told the court that he met Dunne when he was hospitalised for polio which he contracted when he was two years old.
In his victim impact statement, he called the former Garda a paedophile and claimed Dunne had visited a particular ward at a children’s hospital in Dublin “especially to recruit new victims”.
He said he was abused by Dunne in his car just a short distance from his home in Dublin, and also in Pearse Street Garda Station as well as at the annual scout camp.
“He had free access everywhere he went; nobody questioned his word. He was seen as the good garda looking after the poor little handicapped kids,” he said.
The court heard Dunne met his two other victims, two brothers from Dublin, at a swimming gala organised by the scouts.
Dunne brought one of the boys to play snooker in a room on the top of Pearse Street Garda Station and cooked him a fry and then put his hand down his pants and fondled his penis.
Defence Counsel Mark Nicholas (BL) said his client’s behaviour was “disgraceful and unforgiveable” but said Dunne, who joined a religious order after he left the Gardai, had sought help for his problems in America twenty years ago.
The court heard he joined the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in 1977 and, following advice from his superiors, went to seek help for his problems at Trinity House in Chicago in 1992.
Mr Nicholas said the abuse involving the four victims had come to light as a “downstream effect of the Ryan Report “ when people got the strength to come forward. He said that his client had made early admissions of guilt.
Judge Moran was told Dunne had one previous conviction for indecent assault on a 12-year-old boy in 1986 for which he received the Probation Act.
The Judge said it was a difficult case with a lot to consider and adjourned sentencing until January 18.