Ex-garda and scout leader jailed for abuse


A former garda and scout master who sexually abused young boys when he was in charge of a special scout troop for children with disabilities has been jailed for six months.

John Joseph Dunne (82), better known as Jack Dunne, of Canon Breen Park, Thomondgate, Limerick, abused some of his victims in an upstairs dormitory at Pearse Street Garda station in Dublin, where he had living quarters while he was based there from 1953 to 1976.

Two of his victims were polio sufferers whom he met while he was a scout master of a special troop for boys with disabilities.

Jailing Dunne at Limerick Circuit Court yesterday, Judge Carroll Moran suspended 18 months of a two-year sentence but said he would have to serve six months in prison to reflect the “awful things he did”.

The case involved an “enormous breach of trust” because the accused was a garda and a juvenile liaison officer, and he said Dunne had “robbed the boys of their innocence”.


The former garda resigned from the force in 1976 amid allegations of indecent behaviour, but no charges were brought. He joined a religious order called the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in 1977 and sought psychological therapy in Chicago in 1992.

Speaking after the sentence was imposed yesterday, Annette Strachan, a volunteer with Rape Crisis Mid West, who accompanied the victims to court, urged other victims of abuse to come forward regardless of the antiquity of the case.

Dunne pleaded guilty at Limerick Circuit Court last June to 14 counts of indecent assault on young boys in Dublin on unknown dates between 1963 and 1969.

Judge Moran was told the sexual abuse first came to light following the publication of the Ryan report in 2009 when one of Dunne’s victim’s contacted gardaí. The court heard his victims were aged between nine and 14 and one of the boys was abused between 15 and 20 times.

Judge Moran was told Dunne had one previous conviction for indecent assault on a 12-year-old boy in 1986, for which he got the Probation Act.

One victim of his abuse, now 56 years old, said after the sentence: “I’m glad he got six months at least, but six months just seems a bit light to me.”