Posted February 24, 2018 08:45:49 High school pupils at north-side High School in Etiwanda, in Co Meath, have been accused of allegedly having sex with students and staff, in what a senior lecturer said was “a textbook case of sexual abuse”.
The High Court heard that, on the morning of March 5, 2018, about 20 students were in the school at the request of a member of the public.
A member of staff from a neighbouring school was allegedly at the school that day, having sex, with some of the students and some of their parents, a senior Lecturer in the School of Education said.
The case was adjourned until January 29, 2019, for investigation, and a report into what happened to the students was to be tabled.
Dr John Murphy, who specialises in human sexuality and sexual abuse, said the accused students, aged between 14 and 17, were all male.
“There is no way they would be able to consent to anything that was going on,” he said.
“The accused were not under the influence of drugs, alcohol or anything that would be considered to be a sexual act at that time.”
They were simply children who were doing what they were doing in the public school.
“The evidence in the case, to the best of my knowledge, is that this was a textbook case that we have all seen before, that we know of.”
Dr Murphy said there were several allegations of sexual behaviour by students, including the alleged sexual assault of a 14-year-old boy.
He said the allegation that a teacher and a 16-year old boy had sex in the hall was a “classic case” of sexual harassment and abuse.
“What is particularly worrying is that the teacher in question is in a position of authority, he is the principal of the school, he has access to the principal’s computer system,” he added.
“It is extremely concerning that there are allegations of a teacher having sex and this is in the halls of a school that is run by the local authority, the local school board, the headteacher and the headmaster.”
Dr Paul Walsh, headteachers of the schools, said they were “extremely concerned” about the allegations and wanted to talk to the accused, but said there had been no “physical contact” in the classrooms.
“These are young people who are not well-versed in the law, and it’s important to get their full legal advice,” he told RTE.
He added that it was not known how many children were involved, but the allegations were serious.
“We are very concerned about this allegation,” he explained.
“This is a textbook example of sexual assault.
There is no excuse for it.
We will be looking at every single allegation, whether it’s true or not.”
Dr Walsh added that there were a number of other allegations of inappropriate behaviour between the teachers and students in the schools.
“Some of these allegations relate to incidents that occurred in the years prior to the alleged incident,” he concluded.
He also confirmed that a number had been investigated by the school’s Board of Governors, who had spoken with the teacher who was charged and had found that the alleged incidents were not substantiated.
“I can confirm that the board has been informed of the allegations, and the matter is being looked at and investigated,” he stated.