Limerick teacher admits harassment in accusing colleague of viewing inappropriate content in the classroom

Ennis courthouse
Ennis Courthouse

A TEACHER appeared in court charged with sending grossly offensive communications in the form of two letters alleging that a colleague was viewing sexually inappropriate content on his phone while in the classroom.

At Ennis District Court, Tomas Madigan (42), of Crossbeg, Cooraclare,Kilrush, County Clare, appeared concerning two charges of sending letters to Ardscoil Mhuire secondary school in Corbally, Limerick, and Henry Street Garda Station in Limerick last year.

His solicitor, Daragh Hassett, told the court that Mr Madigan will not be contesting the two charges, stating that his client was unwell at the time of sending the two letters but didn’t know it.

Giving an outline of the State’s case against Mr Madigan, Detective Garda Joe Cusack told Judge Alec Gabbett that “it will be alleged that Mr Madigan authored two handwritten letters purporting to be from a student at Ardscoil Mhuire at a time when he was a teacher there”.

“The first letter was sent in March 2022 to Henry Street Garda Station and the second sent to the school in May 2022,” he said.

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“Both letters were broadly similar in content in that they made reference to another teacher in the school viewing inappropriate content on his phone while teaching a class at the school.

“It was inappropriate sexual content,” Detective Cusack added.

After hearing an outline of the case against Mr Madigan, Judge Gabbett said that he would accept District Court jurisdiction.

Sergeant Louis Moloney told Judge Gabbett that the DPP had directed that the case be heard in the District Court.

Giving evidence of arrest, charge, and caution before court, Detective Cusack said that Mr Madigan replied “I’m very sorry”, after caution.

Both charges against Mr Madigan are contrary to Section 4 of the Harassment, Harmful Communications, and Related Offences Act 2020.

Mr Hassett told Judge Gabbett that “there won’t be a contest in these cases – no contest whatsoever.”

“This arose out of a most difficult time in Mr Madigan’s life,” Mr Hassett explained.

“In addition, there here was a situation with a work colleague and, because of then undiagnosed medical issues, Mr Madigan wasn’t able to rely on the usual logical sound and sensible logic he has applied to all parts of his life in his previous 40 odd years.

“He was unwell at the time and didn’t know it. We are in the process of commissioning one, if not two, medical reports from the field of psychiatry.”

Mr Hassett said that Mr Madigan “had a breakdown at the time when a situation arose with a colleague and instead of dealing with it through the appropriate channels he acted out of turn – he wasn’t thinking straight.”

The solicitor said that he would be seeking a probation report for his client, adding that these “were two events in isolation and there has been nothing since”.

He added that “there is probably an issue of victim impact” and that Detective Cusack could “canvas that with the complainant”.

Judge Gabbett adjourned the case to December 20 pending the probation report.