This Evil, McClean, to be Sentenced, this morning.

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‘You stole my innocence’: Victim of John McClean waives right to anonymity

 • Yesterday 18:38

ONE OF THE victims of a former teacher convicted of sexual assault has said his experience left him “truculent or aggressively defiant” for 50 years.

Terenure College©

Paul Kennedy, who was a student at Terenure College when he was sexually abused by John McClean, said he repressed his memories of the abuse for most of his life, until the birth of his son in 2019 led him to “take my power back”.

In a victim impact statement, 60-year-old Kennedy said older boys would warn younger students about “who was to be avoided”, and McClean “was one of those we were warned against.”

McClean (78) of Casimir Avenue, Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6, is already serving an eight-year sentence handed down in 2021 for abusing 23 pupils at the south Dublin school.

In January, he affirmed guilty pleas to four counts of indecent assault relating to two boys during the 1980s.

He appeared before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court again this morning where he was arraigned on a further 23 counts of abusing 20 boys at the college between 1971 and 1992.

Addressing the judge, Kennedy said: “Please try to imagine how it felt to be taught the difference between right and wrong by men who were simultaneously trying to get their hands down your trousers.

A minority offended by committing unspeakable acts. The majority offended by not speaking up.

Kennedy, who has waived his right to anonymity, said McClean groomed him after his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He described it as “inexorable erosion of my innocence for his own callous warped desires.”

“What impact has this had on me for almost 50 years? … I quickly became truculent or aggressively defiant and sought to outmanoeuvre the constant bullying, humiliation and sexual sleaze that was our daily lot in Terenure College, epitomised by John McClean.

Those who promised to protect and nurture me became those who either wished to defile me or those who looked the other way. And so began a lifetime distrust of authority.

“I have found that you can only suppress these experiences for so long and I was good at that for nearly 50 years,” Kennedy said.

He told the court that his first child was born in 2019, “an amazing boy whose innocence and vulnerability tore down my defiant defences.

“It seems I didn’t know I had gold in my pockets until I was turned upside down. Something profound happened: I faced my past in Terenure College.”

Addressing McClean, he said: “I stopped running, I took my power back and remembered you in all your poisoned glory.

“You had stolen my innocence and there I was laughing it off as if it never mattered. Holding my infant son in my arms I gravely realised that laughing it off and saying: ‘Ah, sure, I survived,’ was weakness and talking about the theft of my innocence and the enduring stain of paedophilia was, in fact, strength.

“For all my truculence, my ardent aggressive defiance cultivated in that school, it serves me not, for it has left me at 60 still living off my wits with a small beautiful boy to look after and out for.

You never once considered the impact you had on us as boys, let alone as men or old men

“It does, however, give me great solace and pride to read this out and in so doing honour the young boy Paul Kennedy who was defiant and who did his damn best to dodge and sidestep your tackle and run out the gates of Terenure College into a tough old world, but a safer one.

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