Courts

Thursday 31 July 2014

Children’s GAA coach found guilty of horror sex attacks on young boys in his team

Greg Harkin

Published 13/05/2014|12:57

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Ronan McCormack, (71), Cuppanagh, Clooloo, was found guilty by a jury of 53 out of 54 charges of indecent assault which took place in County Sligo in the 1980s.

VICTIMS of a paedophile GAA coach wept after their abuser was found guilty of sickening sex attacks on them.

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U-12s gaelic football manager Ronan McCormack showed no reaction as a jury returned guilty verdicts on 53 out of 54 allegations of sexual assault against five boys in the 1980s.

The 71-year-old had abused the boys when they were aged between nine and 13 over seven years.

They were abused at various locations including at McCormack’s home and beside a lake. None of the attacks took place at the GAA club.

The coach, from Cuppanagh, Cloonloo, County Sligo, had groomed his victims by taking them to see All-Ireland football final matches in Croke Park.

Three of the victims were in court as the jury of 11 men and one woman gave their verdict after a two-week trial.

One of them wept after the verdict was reached after three hours and 54 minutes of deliberation.

At the end of the trial at Sligo Circuit Court yesterday, Judge Petria McDonnell told the jury: “The complainants in this case were dishonoured as children and you have now honoured them in your work as jurors.”

Eileen O’Leary SC, prosecuting for the DPP, applied to the court for McCormack to be remanded in custody.

She also asked for an order which had banned McCormack’s identity to be lifted, saying the victims wished to remain anonymous but they wanted their abuser named.

Defence counsel Delia Flynn applied for bail ahead of a sentencing hearing - and also that McCormack’s identity remain hidden until that hearing on June 17.

Judge McDonnell remanded McCormack on continuing bail to allow him to settle his affairs.

However she said the media could now identify him.

The judge praised Gardai for the diligent and sensitive way they had handled the case.

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