Victim of serial paedo John McClean slams four year sentence as ‘too lenient’
McClean used his position also as a rugby coach to engage in acts of abuse – and would threaten to kick his victims off the team as a means to manipulate them
A victim of serial paedophile John McClean has slammed the four year sentence he received for abusing as being “too lenient”.
The man, who is in his 40s, was among 22 men who finally got some justice last week when McClean was further sentenced to four years in prison for sexually and indecently assaulting them in Dublin’s Terenure College between the years 1971 and 1992. But speaking to this paper, the man, who McClean abused in the 1990s, said he cannot understand how the monster only received four years for abusing them – when in 2021 he received eight years in prison for abusing 23 others.
The victim, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Why is the justice for the second batch of victims less than the first? He should have at a minimum received the same sentence again. I hope the DPP will appeal the sentence handed down for being too lenient.”
In relation to this victim, McClean pleaded guilty and was sentenced last week for indecent assault. The man, who was subjected to being locked in McClean’s office and abused by him when he was just a child, said the last number of months leading up to his case were incredibly hard for him.
He said: “Since John McClean has been back in court and awaiting verdict, the last five months have been very difficult. In fact my mental health has been at its worst level for years. Anxious, feeling dirty and ashamed, unable to sleep and when I do, I have recurring nightmares. I’m now seeing a medical professional and support groups three to four times a week.”
The abuse survivor added: “I do not believe he is sorry for his actions and I do not accept the half-hearted apology from Fr Michael Troy on behalf of Terenure College and the Carmelite Order. They have known for years what this child abuser did for decades and even promoted him during this time.
“They closed every door to protect the ‘brand’ of the college and it was very late in the day that they facilitated another Garda investigation. It should never have gone that far. They had a duty of care and they should have reported it immediately.”
In a statement Fr Troy said the Carmelites were “truly sorry” for the failure to stop McClean but acknowledged their public apologies “seem paltry in the wake of the harrowing accounts of abuse and its devastating consequences that former students have given”. The Carmelite Order also insisted that it is committed to supporting all those abused in their schools and other ministry settings and said counselling and therapy can be arranged for victims and survivors at no cost.
But for this victim, their statement comes too little too late. The victim added: “By reporting it at the time when first coming to light, myself and a lot of other young boys would not have been abused and had a childhood taken from us. I ask the teachers and priests who knew to have a look at themselves in the mirror and try to imagine walking in our shoes at the age of 13 – living in fear of being abused mentally, physically and sexually by a grown man.”
McClean, of Casimir Avenue, Harold’s Cross, South Dublin, was already serving an 11-year sentence, with the final three years suspended, imposed in 2021 for abusing 23 pupils at the school. Speaking to this paper previously about the abuse he received at the hands of McClean, the victim told how the beast locked him in his office.
He said: “Probably nearly two weeks after he first tried to punish me, I left class to go to the toilet. He called me back saying ‘where are you going.’ I said I’m going to the toilet. He says we haven’t finished our conversation. He called me back into his office and looking back I couldn’t believe I put myself in that position, but he locked his door.
“He touched me then, which I was not expecting. Like a sort of a jock thing, a pat on the backside. I then said I need to go toilet, but he said ‘I’ll dismiss you when I dismiss you.’ That’s when he touched me and said ‘if you want me to hold it, I’ll hold it for you’.”
The man, who says the sexual assault changed his life and led him to later try to take his own life, says he then fought off McClean – who he believes was determined to rape him. He said: “I hit out. I elbowed him in the chest. He banged the back of my head with his fist and then he grabbed me by the hair and smacked me against the desk.
“If I didn’t hit out, I am convinced he would rape me. He had bent me over the desk. If he had knocked me out, he would have raped me, I’m sure of it. Even the fight that he put up. He didn’t give a s**t that I was screaming. He actually didn’t care.”
The victim managed to fight off the monster, and broke out of the locked office door before screaming as loud as he could. He said: “I made sure I was in the corridor where I could be heard. I ran, went back to the class and I was crying but trying to hide it.”
The man carried the abuse he suffered for several years, before he says he ended up turning to alcohol to try and numb the pain. He said: “I’ve gone through years with psychiatrists on it. I was admitted into John of Gods over it.
“About seven or eight years ago I nearly had successfully taken my life. Luckily now I’ve been free of alcohol and everything else for the last seven or eight years. But the thing about it is, going to the Garda station and building up the courage to do this was huge.
“Because every October since it happened, I would go on a bender. I was drunk, and hid it and pretended I was sick. I would just avoid October. I mean even into adulthood, from the age of 18. From crack of dawn to an early house, the whole month of October on an absolute bender. I was just trying to burn that image out of my mind.”
McClean, who was once a trusted English teacher and rugby coach at Terenure College, systematically abused young pupils there between 1971 and 1992. When asked by the Irish Mirror before he was sentenced in 2021 what he would like to say to his victims, a stunned McClean simply said: “I have already made my apology, and it was heartfelt.”
Following the sentencing Terenure College issued a statement in which it apologised and admitted that it and the Carmelite Order had “failed in their duty” to protect the victims. McClean used his position also as a rugby coach to engage in acts of abuse – and would threaten to kick his victims off the team as a means to manipulate them.
The court heard how at every turn McClean “utilised and preyed upon” the victims “vulnerabilities”. He “cast his net wide,” inflicting sexual assaults on 23 people, when they were aged between just 11-18, leaving them forever damaged emotionally and physically, the court heard.
He was removed from his role with the school plays in 1979 after certain allegations of abuse were made against him – but he was then appointed first year “form master” in the early 1980s and had his own office. Many of the subsequent sexual assaults committed by McClean occurred in this office when he brought boys there after they had gotten into trouble in class.