Further 20 men alleging abuse by John McClean seek to take civil cases

Former Terenure College teacher was sentenced to eight years in jail for sexual abuse

John McClean (76)  arriving at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in February. Photograph: Laura Hutton

John McClean (76) arriving at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in February. Photograph: Laura Hutton


A further 20 men who claim they were abused by former Terenure College teacher and rugby coach John McClean have sought to take civil cases over the past abuse.

McClean (76) was sentenced to eight years in prison in February over the sexual abuse of 23 boys in Terenure College between 1973 and 1990.

He sexually abused students while fitting them for costumes in school plays, in his office as first-year form master, and also while examining sports injuries.

Prior to his sentencing seven civil cases had been filed by men he abused, the majority listing McClean, the school, and the Carmelite order who ran it as defendants.

Dave Coleman, of Coleman Legal Partners, said he had been contacted by six men in the last week who alleged they were also abused by McClean, and had instructed his firm to begin civil actions.

Mr Coleman said a further six men had made initial contact with his firm, but they were at a very early stage of the process of exploring taking a civil case. He said he expected the overall number of known alleged victims of McClean to increase substantially.

Mr Coleman, whose firm specialises in abuse cases, had already been representing one of the victims in a civil case before McClean was jailed.

David Harrington, of Harringtons LLP Solicitors, said he had been contacted by about eight further alleged victims of McClean, who were seeking to take civil cases.

Mr Harrington had previously represented one of McClean’s victims in a case that was settled. He called for some form of “redress scheme” to be set up, so victims did not have to go through a lengthy legal battle for compensation.

Both lawyers have estimated the south Dublin school and religious order would be facing costs running into several millions of euro over the past abuse, between legal fees and the cost of settlements.

A Garda source confirmed gardaí had been contacted by several other alleged victims of McClean since his sentencing, as well as many other individuals seeking to pass on information from their time in Terenure College.

McClean left Terenure College after admitting to the abuse in 1996, following the father of one of his victims reporting the abuse to the Carmelite order.

After leaving the school he took up a role as director of rugby in University College Dublin, which he held until 2011. McClean was employed by UCD Rugby Club, and not directly by the university, one UCD source said.

It is understood a man who alleges he was abused by another teacher as a pupil in Terenure College had arranged to make a statement to gardaí on Sunday.

The former teacher worked in the school at the same time as McClean. During the criminal investigation into McClean’s abuse, gardaí had been aware of rumours and concerns related to this second former teacher, but were unable to pursue the matter at the time without a complainant.