independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Rape claim journalist faces criminal charge

A sports journalist at the centre of investigation into alleged rape of a 14-year-old is facing criminal charges

The illegal sexual contact is alleged to have started while the journalist was coaching and mentoring the girl and other members of an underage GAA team.

If the journalist is charged and convicted of statutory rape, he faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The gardai probe started when the journalist's daughter allegedly discovered text messages he had sent to the girl on an old mobile phone.

The journalist gave the phone to his daughter as she was collecting old mobiles to donate to a charity.

It is alleged she found the texts, as well as photographs of the young GAA player, while putting a new SIM card into the phone.

His daughter showed the texts to other members of her family and they contacted the gardai and subsequently handed over the phone.

Gardai carried out a detailed interview with the girl with whom the journalist is alleged to have had sex.

She gave officers her account of her relationship with the journalist in the months leading up to the alleged statutory rape and afterwards.

ALLEGATIONS

By this stage, the journalist, who has not worked since the allegations became public, was in hospital receiving psychiatric care.

During this period, a second girl came forward and she also claimed that the journalist had inappropriate contact with her.

The fresh allegation concerned a girl at a different Dublin GAA club to the original complainant.

In April 2011, St Vincent's GAA football and camogie club, based in Marino on the northside of Dublin, issued a statement distancing itself from the sports journalist.

The man had been a member of the club and a mentor to an underage team at St Vincent's until September of last year, but had not coached another team since then.

It is understood that the girls involved in the allegations were not members of St Vincent's Club.

However, every teenager he came into contact with during his nine years at the club has been interviewed by specialist gardai.

Ken Foy, Crime Correspondent

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