independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Journalist facing 50 charges after child sex abuse probe

A PROMINENT sports journalist is expected to face more than 50 charges early this week arising out of a lengthy garda investigation into claims that he sexually abused a child.

The man is due to appear in Dublin District Court on a range of offences arising from an alleged inappropriate relationship with a young girl.

The charges include alleged sexual assault on a young girl and defilement and exploitation through sending text messages to her.

The move follows a garda investigation that was launched in March 2011 after the man's daughter found text messages to the girl on a phone she had been given by her father.

The girl was given the phone as she was collecting old mobiles for a charity. It is alleged his daughter found the texts as well as photographs of the young girl, who was a camogie player, while putting a new SIM card into the phone.

His daughter showed the texts to other members of her family and they alerted the gardai, who took possession of the phone.

Gardai carried out a detailed interview with the girl with whom he was alleged to have been in the inappropriate relationship.

She gave them her account of her relationship with him in the months leading up to the discovery of the texts.

Investigating officers had to delay their interview with the journalist as he was admitted to hospital and placed under psychiatric care.

He was eventually arrested by gardai in September 2012 and taken to Ballymun garda station, on the northside of Dublin, where he was questioned by officers about the allegations and then released without charge.

The arrest was carried out after detectives had been given the go-ahead by medical experts.

Gardai then prepared a detailed file for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Following a review of the file, the DPP recommended that the large number of charges be brought against the journalist.

In April 2011, shortly after the alleged relationship with the under-age camogie player, St Vincent's GAA football and camogie club, based in Marino on the northside of the capital, issued a statement in which it distanced itself from the sports journalist.

The journalist had been a member of the club and a mentor to an underage team until September 2011 but had not mentored another team since then.

While the garda investigation was under way, a fresh complaint was made against the journalist by a girl from another GAA club.

Neither of the girls involved in the allegations against him was a member of St Vincent's club.

Tom Brady, Security Editor

Irish Independent

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