Survivors of convicted pedophile Bill Kenneally, cousin of a former government minister Brendan Kenneally, want a commission of enquiry into what authorities and state agencies knew about the pervert’s abuse years before he was prosecuted.
The survivors are also taking legal action against the state, gardai and the Health Service Executive.
Sports coach and accountant Bill Kenneally, 66, was sentenced last February to 14 years in prison for horrific abuse of young teenage boys in the 1980s in Waterford after pleading guilty to 10 sample charges. He is appealing the severity of the sentence.
The scandal has recalled other sports sex assaults on young people involving swim coaches George Gibney, Derry O’Rourke and Ger Doyle.
Kenneally’s offenses have ignited demands for deeper investigation of his crimes and alleged cover-ups of them. This follows another of his survivors coming forward last week and claiming gardai knew about his abuse in 1985, two years before the force in Waterford admitted knowing anything about allegations of pedophilia against Kenneally.
The former coach was not arrested until 2012 when another survivor found out he was still involved in basketball and went to gardai.
RTE reported that former Superintendent Sean Cashman and Inspector PJ Hayes knew about allegations from the parents of two boys who suffered sex abuse by Kenneally in 1987 which he admitted when questioned.
But he was not prosecuted because the boys who were the alleged victims didn’t make any statement, and the gardai said there was not sufficient evidence to bring a charge.
Human Rights lawyer Darragh Mackin, representing Kenneally’s victims – a number of whom waived anonymity for an RTE program about the abuse – is leading the call for a commission of investigation.
“There are grounds for investigation. A multitude of facts point to a deliberate sabotage and cover-up by a variety of state parties including gardai, a political party, health board and church,” Mackin said.
“There is a real issue of preventability here. There is a question of what victims would have been protected if more action was taken earlier.”
Former Fianna Fail junior minister Brendan Kenneally said in recent days he learned in 2002 that his cousin was a sex abuser but he didn’t report it to the gardai. He was told by someone close to a victim, but the victim didn’t want to pursue the matter further.
Brendan Kenneally said, “I was shocked and blown away by it and nearly fell off the chair. I made sure certain things were done and I got him assessed medically, which found he wasn’t still offending.”