An Irish teacher has been granted over $900,000 in damages against the HSE over the manner in which it investigated sexual abuse claims made against him.

The case against the former secondary school teacher arose after an American counselor, acting for a former pupil of the teacher, notified the area health board after the boy allegedly made "a verbal outcry of sexual abuse" against the teacher at his former Irish school.

The Irish Independent reports that the boy, now aged 24, never made a formal statement to the police, so the DPP directed no prosecution could be taken.

In 2006, the unnamed teacher was was suspended on administrative leave by his school. He was reinstated in 2007, after he took legal proceedings, but he never returned to the job.

Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill, who awarded the damages, said the teacher was targeted by the area health board and the HSE and that the HSE's actions  had the consequence of irreparably destroying the teacher's life.

"Whilst the judgments of this court must go some considerable distance in redressing the wrong done to the applicant, the life he has lost to date cannot be restored and in the future will not be adequately repaired," said the judge, according to the Independent.

Justice O'Neill added that the teacher had to endure great mental anguish and suffering through the inquiry.

He said a March 2006 report fell far short of an honest attempt by the HSE to discharge its duty and that the allegations were accepted as true from the beginning. The judge added that during the investigation, the local health board and the HSE "sheltered these allegations from appropriate scrutiny."


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