AN IRISH teacher in the US has been jailed for eight years after being convicted of sexual assaults and having ‘improper relationships’ with students.
Dillon Gaffney, 25, received six sentences of eight years each for three counts of sexual assault of a child under 17 and three of having an improper relationship with a student.
Independent.ie reports that Gaffney pleaded guilty to the offences on May 3 this year.
Gaffney, who is originally from Kildare and is believed to have travelled to the US on a soccer scholarship, will serve his sentences concurrently.
The offences occurred when Gaffney worked as a social studies teacher and assistant soccer coach at Palacios High School in Matagorda County, Texas, between 2015 and 2016.
He then worked as the coach of the women’s soccer team at Huntsville High School in Walker County, about 150 miles away, during 2016/2017.
It was during this time that Gaffney was first arrested in June 2017 on an out-of-county warrant issued by Matagorda County.
He was charged with one count of having an improper relationship with a student.
However after two more students came forward, Gaffney was charged with three counts of having an improper relationship with a student and three counts of sexual assault of a child.
The Superintendent of Schools for Palacios Independent School District expressed his disappointment following Gaffney’s arrest last summer.
“Mr Gaffney worked for our district during the 2015-2016 school year as a social studies teacher/ assistant soccer coach,” said Dr Alexandro M. Flores.
“At no point during his tenure here were we made aware of any inappropriate interactions between Mr Gaffney and any of our students.
“Regardless of our district’s best efforts to thoroughly vet and screen all incoming employees, we cannot ultimately predict the future behaviors or actions to be displayed by our staff.
“What we can tell you with certainty is that we will always follow up and investigate any claims, allegations, or reports regarding inappropriate contact of any kind between staff and students and will not hesitate to take immediate and effective action when necessary and warranted.”
Gaffney is currently incarcerated at the Holliday Transfer Facility in Huntsville.
His projected release date is August 2025 however he will be eligible for parole in August 2021.