Saturday 25 March 2017

Second girl complains to gardai about sports journalist

Tom Brady Security Editor

A fresh complaint has been lodged by another young GAA player against a prominent sports journalist already at the centre of a major garda sex investigation.

The new allegation has come to light since detectives started their inquiries into the initial complaint of statutory rape by another girl, it was learned last night.

However, it is understood the latest incident to come to light took place some time before the alleged rape.

It involves a different girl who was also mentored by the journalist while she was a member of an underage team, although she is older than the initial complainant, now 16. The two girls are attached to different GAA clubs in Dublin.

Senior gardai confirmed last night that the fresh complaint centres on alleged inappropriate contact between the girl and the journalist, but does not involve rape.

Officers said they had received details of the complaint in the past few weeks and had interviewed the alleged victim, who is now over 18.

But they have not been able to talk to the journalist about either of the complaints as he has been undergoing medical treatment at a Dublin hospital since the investigation began more than two months ago.

Gardai said last night that the journalist was likely to remain in hospital for several weeks, but they were continuing with their inquiries and interviewing all relevant persons while awaiting his discharge to be authorised by doctors.

It is expected that after he leaves hospital, he will be arrested and questioned about the complaints before gardai complete a file to be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will determine if criminal charges should be brought against the journalist.

The investigation is being carried out by gardai from a city station and members of the domestic violence and sexual assault unit, which is part of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, based at Harcourt Square in Dublin.

The garda probe started towards the end of March after the journalist's daughter allegedly discovered text messages he had sent to the girl on an old mobile phone.

The journalist had given the phone to his daughter, who was collecting old mobiles to donate to a charity. It is alleged she found the texts, as well as photographs of the camogie 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.

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

She has given them her account of her relationship with him in the months leading up to the alleged statutory rape and after.

The relationship 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.

Last April, 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 mentored another team since then.

The teenager involved in the investigation is not a member of St Vincent's and the club has made it clear that it will provide whatever assistance is required by the gardai as part of their inquiries, while also respecting the rights and needs of club members.

The journalist had been a high-profile member of the club until the end of last year, when his membership lapsed.

Irish Independent

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