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The McClean case and sexual abuse by some other male teachers.

  • 22-02-2021 12:35am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 4,300 ✭✭✭


    https://www.rte.ie/news/2021/0219/1198169-john-mcclean-profile/
    It took the court two days to hear all the horror stories that the 23 men had to tell and a third day to send John McClean to jail, 47 years after he abused the first child.

    Man after man, victim after victim, came into Court 13 to bear witness to what was done to them. Some were alone, some came with their wives and partners. They sat quietly in the body of the court until it was their turn to reveal the shocking extent of what they had endured.
    As children, the victims had been put in an impossible position by a predator who had total control over them. One retaliated by finding McClean’s home phone number in Harold’s Cross in Dublin. He rang from a phone box and told McClean’s mother "your son is a queer." It was an act of defiance from a 13-year-old boy. Most suffered on in silence.

    Why did the men who were responsible for management of Terenure College in the early years of McClean's spree of horrific crimes refuse to even entertain the possibility that what they heard at the time was true?

    How did one man hold such sway at the college? Was there a fear that he would take other abusers in the school down with him if his crimes had been reported back then? The writer John Boyne wrote in The Irish Times this weekend that he was sexually abused by a male teacher (not McClean) and physically abused by a priest.

    Why were there so many cases of sexual abuse of children (boys in the majority of cases) by some male teachers mostly throughout the second half of the 20th Century in Ireland? Does the second quote indicate the cause of these teachers' sexual interest in boys, given that McClean is not known to have had a sexual relationship with a woman, because it indicates that he was still living with his mother in the early years of his spree?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,261 ✭✭✭✭mariaalice


    https://www.rte.ie/news/2021/0219/1198169-john-mcclean-profile/





    Why did the men who were responsible for management of Terenure College in the early years of McClean's spree of horrific crimes refuse to even entertain the possibility that what they heard at the time was true?

    How did one man hold such sway at the college? Was there a fear that he would take other abusers in the school down with him if his crimes had been reported back then? The writer John Boyne wrote in The Irish Times this weekend that he was sexually abused by a male teacher (not McClean) and physically abused by a priest.

    Why were there so many cases of sexual abuse of children (boys in the majority of cases) by some male teachers mostly throughout the second half of the 20th Century in Ireland? Does the second quote indicate the cause of these teachers' sexual interest in boys, given that McClean is not known to have had a sexual relationship with a woman, because it indicates that he was still living with his mother in the early years of his spree?

    I don't know about the principal and how the school dealt with it, the ones who did it, did it because they could and were reasonably sure of getting away with it.

    Motive, means, and opportunity

    As for why there seemed to be so much of it in Ireland I don't think anyone knows.

    Also you need to be careful to not stereotype men who live with their mother or who are not in a relationship with a woman.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,987 ✭✭✭HalloweenJack


    Sexual abuse goes on a lot more than people believe or want to believe. It is massively under-reported, between people not reporting the abuse to the authorities, not being open about it or not even acknowledging it to themselves.

    The Terenure situation is not unique. Sadly, there are numerous cases of abusers who were untouchable for one reason or another and it took a long time to bring them down or for people to speak up about it. This happens all over the world and in a wide range of settings.

    The suggestion that men who live with their mothers or who don't have relationships with women is suspicious is dangerous. Abusers come in all shapes and sizes and from many different backgrounds.


  • Posts: 6,192 ✭✭✭[Deleted User]


    John McClean was 21 when he started teaching English in Terenure College in 1966. He admitted sexually abusing his first child there seven years later, in 1973. He was a big, strong, fit young man who also became the rugby coach.

    In the eyes of those children, he was a forceful, formidable and frightening character. For the next 17 years, he continued to sexually abuse children aged 12 to 16 at the south Dublin secondary school.


    There is no way,a cultural or historical context of the time,can explain away this....

    At its worst the catholic church knew child abusers were wrong and moved about in futile hope they would stop....this school just left him in the job???


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 528 ✭✭✭Invidious


    Why were there so many cases of sexual abuse of children (boys in the majority of cases) by some male teachers mostly throughout the second half of the 20th Century in Ireland? Does the second quote indicate the cause of these teachers' sexual interest in boys, given that McClean is not known to have had a sexual relationship with a woman, because it indicates that he was still living with his mother in the early years of his spree?

    Why are you suggesting that only male teachers have a sexual interest in their students, and proposing some pseudo-Freudian explanation for this? A study in the US found that women are responsible for 19% of child sexual abuse committed in positions of trust. We've had a number of cases in Ireland of female teachers sexually abusing students. This is an issue that goes far beyond sexually frustrated male teachers who live with their mothers.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,689 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump


    OP, not saying anything bad about you, but I noticed that you do seem to have started a few threads related to child abuse recently.


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6 OicheMhaira


    As to why they got away with it - look at who used to be able to sign a passport or other form: priests, police, teachers - they were ennobled with a power that rendered them at the time untouchable.

    Many were never found out or if they were it was after they had retired or even died.

    I was beaten at school but not sexually abused thankfully but I knew of other pupils who were. None were believed till decades later and my physical abuse was noted by everyone but my parents - who had none of it - as "school discipline".

    I wept on seeing the victim interviewed and I hope he can rebuild his life and find happiness.


  • Registered Users Posts: 68,317 ✭✭✭✭seamus


    Why did the men who were responsible for management of Terenure College in the early years of McClean's spree of horrific crimes refuse to even entertain the possibility that what they heard at the time was true?
    There would have a number of factors at play. Reputation being the big one.
    Remember that at the time the issue was less of the sexual abuse of a child, but more about homosexuality. Schools were beating the living daylights out of some kids. A bit of a slap on the arse or a kick in the balls, was just rough and tumble.

    But a male teacher fiddling sexually with the kids meant that there was a gay in the building. And if there's one, there might be others. If it emerged publically that there was a gay teacher messing the boys in the school, then it raises questions about how many other teachers and students have been perverted and lured into deviancy.

    It sounds absurd, but that was the big concern. That the school would become tagged as having a "gay" problem rather than a sexual abuse one.
    How did one man hold such sway at the college? Was there a fear that he would take other abusers in the school down with him if his crimes had been reported back then? The writer John Boyne wrote in The Irish Times this weekend that he was sexually abused by a male teacher (not McClean) and physically abused by a priest.
    As we now know from the thousands of cases of serial abuse, the abusers insert themselves as pillars of the community/institution. They're not the creeping weirdos skulking in corner, they're front-and-centre, popular, pious, unimpeachable. They are confident, charming, outgoing people who exert power merely through influence and reputation.

    Thus, the "outing" of such an individual has profound reverberations for the community. Consequences which someone in a position of power may not be willing to kick off. It may be out of complicity, it may be naivety, it may be arrogance. I'm sure someone at some point believed that if they just move the individual out of their current position, then the problem will end without the massive avalanche of sh1t that comes after.
    Why were there so many cases of sexual abuse of children (boys in the majority of cases) by some male teachers mostly throughout the second half of the 20th Century in Ireland? Does the second quote indicate the cause of these teachers' sexual interest in boys, given that McClean is not known to have had a sexual relationship with a woman, because it indicates that he was still living with his mother in the early years of his spree?
    Secondary school teachers in boys' schools until the 1980s were almost completely male.

    It is known that sexual predators tend to choose occupations and roles that give them greater access to victims.

    McClean is likely only the tip of the iceberg of what happened in Terenure during the decades before the 90s and Terenure is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of private schools. I was in Terenure, and while McClean was my form master in first year (and English teacher too), I don't recall any specific interactions with him in either context.

    The reputational damage that's been done to Terenure and the Carmelite order can't be understated here. John McClean and some of the priests involved in covering up his actions, were teaching the parents of current and potential pupils at the school. There is considerable shock and outrage amongst this group. It seems likely that the priests will take a step back from management positions at the school. I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually divest control of the school completely and remain in a chaplaincy role only.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,300 ✭✭✭political analyst


    mariaalice wrote: »
    I don't know about the principal and how the school dealt with it, the ones who did it, did it because they could and were reasonably sure of getting away with it.

    Motive, means, and opportunity

    AS for why there seemed to be so much of it in Ireland I don't think anyone knows.

    Also you need to be careful to not stereotype men who live with their mother or who are not in a relationship with a woman.

    Interestingly, I fall into both categories - but both of my parents are still alive and in their late 60s and I'm stuck at home because of depression.

    My uncle lived with his mother until she died and he still lives in the house and had no relationship with a woman that I know of but the difference with him is that he's a farmer in the countryside!


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,300 ✭✭✭political analyst


    OP, not saying anything bad about you, but I noticed that you do seem to have started a few threads related to child abuse recently.

    I watch the news and read the paper and, like many other people, I just want to know how and why certain crimes take place.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,300 ✭✭✭political analyst


    Invidious wrote: »
    Why are you suggesting that only male teachers have a sexual interest in their students, and proposing some pseudo-Freudian explanation for this? A study in the US found that women are responsible for 19% of child sexual abuse committed in positions of trust. We've had a number of cases in Ireland of female teachers sexually abusing students. This is an issue that goes far beyond sexually frustrated male teachers who live with their mothers.

    I didn't - I was referring to male teachers in Ireland specifically. I know about the imprisonment of a woman who defiled a 16-year-old boy when she was a teacher but that's a very recent case.

    Furthermore, the age of consent for boys in this country was only 15 until the law was changed in 2006.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 68,317 ✭✭✭✭seamus


    Furthermore, the age of consent for boys in this country was only 15 until the law was changed in 2006.
    Only for heterosexual sex. Homosexual sex was completely banned until 1993, and when decriminalised the age of consent for that was 17.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,300 ✭✭✭political analyst


    seamus wrote: »
    Only for heterosexual sex. Homosexual sex was completely banned until 1993, and when decriminalised the age of consent for that was 17.

    I was replying to Invidious in the context of Invidious's original comment, which included a reference to the crimes of female predators in the teaching profession. The chances of a male pupil who had sex with a female teacher when he was 15 or 16 before the 2006 change in the law accusing that teacher of indecent assault are very slim because, for a boy, sex with a female is much less physically painful than it is for the female and also much less physically painful for him than if he had sexual contact (consensual or otherwise) with another male of similar or older age.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,801 ✭✭✭Odhinn


    https://www.rte.ie/news/2021/0219/1198169-john-mcclean-profile/
    Why did the men who were responsible for management of Terenure College in the early years of McClean's spree of horrific crimes refuse to even entertain the possibility that what they heard at the time was true?

    How did one man hold such sway at the college? Was there a fear that he would take other abusers in the school down with him if his crimes had been reported back then? The writer John Boyne wrote in The Irish Times this weekend that he was sexually abused by a male teacher (not McClean) and physically abused by a priest.

    Why were there so many cases of sexual abuse of children (boys in the majority of cases) by some male teachers mostly throughout the second half of the 20th Century in Ireland? Does the second quote indicate the cause of these teachers' sexual interest in boys, given that McClean is not known to have had a sexual relationship with a woman, because it indicates that he was still living with his mother in the early years of his spree?




    If they were treated as being true, that would damage the Terenure "brand" and given a choice between that and abused children, the children lose out each and every time.



    He's far from unique in being an abuser in a south Dublin rugby school. The "Spiritans" (rebranded from the Holy Ghost Fathers) have questions to answer about a (now deceased) priest active from the mid 1970's to the early 1980's.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,658 ✭✭✭donaghs


    3 words: “protect the institution”.

    Terrible as it is, it seems to happen everywhere. Can’t blame the Catholic Church for everything. You saw it in Irish swimming. Even in the most trendy lefty council in 80s UK , in the Islington Children’s Home Scandal.

    Individuals don’t always seem to behave to the highest standard when they have to ask themselves the question: “if I raise my suspicions about this person, what impact will it have on my career/life/etc”.

    Holding people up as “sacred cows” who shouldn’t be questioned also helps prevent exposure of this stuff. Priests are not held in the same regard as in the past, but there will always be people who some will say , “how can you accuse such a person of this?”.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,300 ✭✭✭political analyst


    donaghs wrote: »
    3 words: “protect the institution”.

    Terrible as it is, it seems to happen everywhere. Can’t blame the Catholic Church for everything. You saw it in Irish swimming. Even in the most trendy lefty council on 80s UK , in the Islington Children’s Home Scandal.

    Individuals don’t always seem to behave to the highest standard when they have to ask themselves the question: “if I raise my suspicions about this person, what impact will it have on my career/life/etc”.

    Holding people up as “sacred cows” who shouldn’t be questioned also helps prevent exposure of this stuff. Priests are not held in the same regard as in the past, but there will always be people who some will say , “how can you excuse such a person of this?”.

    Did you mean to say "accused"?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,300 ✭✭✭political analyst


    Odhinn wrote: »
    If they were treated as being true, that would damage the Terenure "brand" and given a choice between that and abused children, the children lose out each and every time.



    He's far from unique in being an abuser in a south Dublin rugby school. The "Spiritans" (rebranded from the Holy Ghost Fathers) have questions to answer about a (now deceased) priest active from the mid 1970's to the early 1980's.

    I asked why the possibility of the accusations being true wasn't considered. I didn't say it should have been automatically accepted the accusations were true (i.e. Operation Midland).


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,801 ✭✭✭Odhinn


    I asked why the possibility of the accusations being true wasn't considered. I didn't say it should have been automatically accepted the accusations were true (i.e. Operation Midland).


    They'd be loathe to allow a chink in the armour to show.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,300 ✭✭✭political analyst


    Sexual abuse goes on a lot more than people believe or want to believe. It is massively under-reported, between people not reporting the abuse to the authorities, not being open about it or not even acknowledging it to themselves.

    The Terenure situation is not unique. Sadly, there are numerous cases of abusers who were untouchable for one reason or another and it took a long time to bring them down or for people to speak up about it. This happens all over the world and in a wide range of settings.

    The suggestion that men who live with their mothers or who don't have relationships with women is suspicious is dangerous. Abusers come in all shapes and sizes and from many different backgrounds.

    It wasn't a general comment - it was a specific reference to a male teacher living in the city and working in a city school from the 1970s to the 1990s. Celibate men living with their mothers in Ireland were much more likely to be living in the countryside or in small towns than in cities.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,658 ✭✭✭donaghs


    Did you mean to say "accused"?
    Yes, thanks, corrected now


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,300 ✭✭✭political analyst


    McClean will be sentenced tomorrow after he pleaded guilty to further charges.




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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,293 ✭✭✭✭The Nal


    45 kids all in. And you'd have to assume theres a lot more than that.

    Amazing that after it was reported to the Carmelites in 1979 they gave him his own office. Pretty much the most secluded office in the school too.



  • Registered Users Posts: 13,711 ✭✭✭✭Potential-Monke


    So in 2021 he got 11 years, 3 suspended, for abusing 23 pupils. Now he's admitted to 20+ more and he gets only 4 more years? And...

    "He has 96 previous convictions, all for indecent assault of young boys under the age of 18 years who attended Terenure College."

    Should have guessed the Judge... How does this dose keep getting these cases?




  • Registered Users Posts: 4,300 ✭✭✭political analyst


    Judges have to adhere to the law and to precedents when they give sentences.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,164 ✭✭✭Cluedo Monopoly


    This is a terrible crime. The religious order issued their usual forced apology but they stood by and allowed this monster to abuse children for many decades knowing he was doing it. Nobody from the school even attended the court proceedings and there was very very little support for the survivors.

    How people darken the doors of churches every week is beyond me.

    What are they doing in the Hyacinth House?



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,542 ✭✭✭MegamanBoo


    I hate to say it but I believe in 20-30 years we'll be talking about what's happening with unaccompanied minors and kids being groomed on social media, saying how did they let those monsters get away with it.

    Heartbreaking what happened back then, and just as heartbreaking what's going on now.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,542 ✭✭✭MegamanBoo


    I hate to say it but I believe in 20-30 years we'll be talking about what's happening with unaccompanied minors and kids being groomed on social media, saying how did they let those monsters get away with it.

    Heartbreaking what happened back then, and just as heartbreaking what's going on now.



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