A man has gone on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting six young men almost 30 years ago.
The 59-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one count of attempted anal rape and eight counts of sexual assault on dates between March 1991 and November 1997 at locations in Co Dublin.
Opening the case on Tuesday, Anne-Marie Lawlor SC, prosecuting, told the jury that the case involves six complainants who say they were “each and separately the victim of sexual misconduct” perpetrated by the accused man.
She told the jury that the man was teaching in a secondary school at the time and four of the complainants were students. The other two complainants knew him from his home town.
The man was in his 30s at the time of the alleged offences, while the complainants were then aged between 17 and 24.
Ms Lawlor said it will be alleged that the man favoured some students and was someone who “engendered inappropriate relationships”. She said the prosecution say he “groomed” certain students and made them feel special.
It is the prosecution's case that the alleged sexual assaults included inappropriate touching, licking and oral sex.
She said five of the six complainants will give evidence that they woke to find the accused man performing oral sex on them.
Ms Lawlor said one of the complainants will say he woke up to the man performing oral sex on him and the accused then allegedly attempted to rape him anally.
Ms Lawlor outlined the principle of sexual consent to the jury, then added that “a person who is sleeping cannot consent to sexual activity”.
She noted the alleged offences involve allegations of sexual misconduct and that sexual offending tends to occur “behind closed doors”.
Ms Lawlor said the jury will also hear evidence that the attempted anal rape and seven of the alleged sexual assaults took place in the man's home. The eighth sexual assault is alleged to have taken place in a pub.
She told the jury they will hear other evidence over the course of the trial, including transcripts of garda interviews with the accused man.
Ms Lawlor said the man denied any sexual activity with the six complainants when he was initially interviewed by gardaí in 2020. However, he later claimed to have had consensual sexual interactions with four of the alleged injured parties.
The trial is expected to last around four weeks.
The trial continues before Mr Justice Alexander Owens and the jury.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800-77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/ or visit Rape Crisis Help.
By Eimear Dodd
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