Former Brother jailed for sex abuse

A former Christian Brother had shown not a shred of remorse for his victims, a judge said today as he jailed the man for five…

A former Christian Brother had shown not a shred of remorse for his victims, a judge said today as he jailed the man for five years for indecently assaulting three boys in the North Monastery Secondary School in Cork in the 1980s.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin noted Edward Bryan (59) formerly Br Bryan, of Martinvilla, Athboy Road, Trim, Co Meath had been convicted following the most careful, prolongued and exhaustive consideration of the evidence by a jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

He said there were several aggravating factors to the case including the fact that there were multiple victims, that the victims were all young boys at the time while he was an adult and a teacher in a position of trust and the fact that the abuse went on over a prolonged period.

Bryan, who became deputy director of Oberstown juvenile detention centre after he left the Christian Brothers, was convicted of one count in June 2012, retried in October 2012 only for the trial to collapse and then convicted of seven more counts following another second retrial.


Judge Ó Donnabháin said he was conscious of the effect that the three trials had on the victims who had to give evidence and be cross-examined but Bryan was entitled to defend himself against the charges and would not "serve one extra hour" in jail for doing so.

However Judge Ó Donnabháin also pointed out that Bryan’s defence was that the victims were simply making the complaints for financial gain and while one man had initiated legal proceedings which he was entitled to do, another man had not even approached a solicitor.

"That was an egregious assault on this man’s character when there was no foundation to it whatsoever, " said Judge Ó Donnabháin who invited defence counsel Blaise O’Carroll SC to apologise to the man for the claim but Mr O’Carroll said he had nothing to say.

Judge Ó Donnabháin added: "What I do note and what the victims have noted is that there isn’t a shred of remorse from this man and I find that alarming - the lack of remorse of glaring and is an aggravating factor."

The three victims each took the witness stand to deliver powerfully moving Victim Impact Statements on how they had been affected by the abuse which occurred when each of them went for extra basketball training on their own with Bryan who coached the school team.

One man spoke of how trying it was for him to have to tell his family for the first time what had happened to him and then having to go through the graphic details of the abuse in front of them during the three separate trials.

"I wouldn’t want anyone to have to do it but I did I and if took another 20 trials and 100 hours in the witness box, I would still do it," said the man, adding it was "a eye opener to see how our legal system operates and how victims are treated by our laws and others are protected."

The man recalled how he had spent nights sitting in his car outside various Garda stations in cork summoning up the courage to go in and make a complaint before he thanked the jury for believing him and his family and An Garda Síochána for their support.

Another man told how he had been brought up in a tradition where he was told to "respect priests,guards, teachers and our elders" and for 23 years he had been afraid and ashamed to tell anyone about what he had suffered at the hands of Bryan.

"Today as I look back, I am disgusted with myself but most of all with him. I trusted this man a man of authority held in high regard by everyone involved in the school but I was betrayed and violated in the most horrific way as a young boy to satisfy his sexual needs."

The third victim recalled how he had been abused by Bryan and he said he can still recall the sound of him breathing in his ear as he abused him and he was anxious as an adult today to use his voice to save other children from becoming victims.

"Looking back now as an adult, it was obvious he was getting some kind of sexual gratification out of this but at the time I put myself in a state of denial not believing that someone I knew so well and trusted so much would such a thing to me."

Judge Ó Donnabháin sentenced Bryan to five years on each of the eight counts of which he was convicted, the sentences to run concurrently from when he was taken into custody on February 21st and he ordered his name be placed on a sex offenders register indefinitely.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times