Terenure College apologises after former rugby coach pleads guilty to indecent assault

John McClean (75) admitted to sexually abusing 23 males in the 1970s and 1980s

Former rugby coach John McClean, of Casimir Avenue, Harold’s Cross, Dublin,  pleaded guilty on Monday to 27 charges of indecently assault at Terenure College in Dublin on dates between 1973 and 1990. File photograph: Collins Courts.

Former rugby coach John McClean, of Casimir Avenue, Harold’s Cross, Dublin, pleaded guilty on Monday to 27 charges of indecently assault at Terenure College in Dublin on dates between 1973 and 1990. File photograph: Collins Courts.

 

A private school where a former rugby coach sexually abused 23 schoolboys in the 1970s and 1980s has apologised “unreservedly to the victims and survivors of abuse”.

John McClean (75), of Casimir Avenue, Harold’s Cross, on Monday pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 27 charges of indecently assault at Terenure College in Dublin on dates between 1973 and 1990.

The charges relate to three separate books of evidence. McClean was due to stand trial on Monday but instead entered pleas of guilty before the court.

Terenure College said it was “sincerely sorry” for the “breach of trust and for the pain and suffering those affected by the abuse endured”.

In a statement to past pupils the college said: “As you may be aware a former staff member of Terenure College pleaded guilty of most serious offences in the courts earlier today.

“On behalf of Terenure College and the Carmelite Order, we apologise unreservedly to the victims and survivors of abuse who suffered while under our care in our school.”

The statement said the criminal acts of abuse by McClean, a former teacher, meant that “innocent children were profoundly harmed”.

“As school management and Carmelites, we acknowledge and deeply regret that we failed these children entrusted to our care. We are committed to providing effective and meaningful support to former pupils who are victims and survivors of abuse,” the school said.

“We acknowledge their courage in coming forward to give their statements and evidence.”

Safeguarding

The school said child safeguarding is an “absolute priority”, adding that it “rigorously” adheres to child protect procedures and co-operate with all relevant authorities.

“ We encourage anyone who has any concerns regarding child safeguarding to contact the statutory authorities, An Garda Síochána and Tusla the Child and Family Agency, and if they wish, the school or the Carmelite Safeguarding Office, ” it said.

“We fully appreciate that this will be a very difficult time for many of you and we wish to assure you all of our full support.”

In Dublin District Court on Monday, Judge Pauline Codd remanded McClean on continuing bail to March 9th next when all evidence will be heard over a two day sentence hearing.

Paul Murray SC, prosecuting, said a number of the complainants were present in court to hear McClean enter the guilty pleas to the charges, while others watched the proceedings over a Zoom call.

Mr Murray confirmed that some of the 23 complainants may wish to read out their victim impact statements during the hearing and told Judge Codd that those statements should be ready for the court before Christmas.