Friday 16 November 2018

Boxing body faces negligence claims over paedophile coach

Frank Mulligan: jailed for buggery and sexual assault
Frank Mulligan: jailed for buggery and sexual assault

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

THE Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) has been hit with a series of lawsuits by men who claim they were abused and subjected to "torture" by paedophile coach Frank Mulligan.

The IABA, the 112-year-old national organisation that oversees the sport, is defending the actions and says it fears its insurance costs will soar if the actions succeed and more men come forward.

"It (the cost of claims) will be another burden we will have to carry," said IABA chief Tommy Murphy.

"Frank Mulligan's crimes came as a massive shock to everyone, including us."

Two years ago, Mulligan (68), who trained former world champion Barry McGuigan in the early part of his career, was jailed for six years for grooming and raping a teenage boy he trained.

Mulligan was already serving two lengthy sentences for the buggery and sexual assault of seven other teenage boys over a 13-year period. The first of the compensation claims are due to come before the High Court next month.

Des Broderick, a sports safety consultant who previously advised on legal actions by swimming coach Derry O'Rourke, is expected to testify in the actions.

Mulligan, who is still in jail, is being sued personally by the men.

The IABA is also being sued for damages as some of the men have accused the organisation of negligence and breach of duty.

It is alleged that the IABA failed to take adequate precautions for the safety of the now grown-up men and failing to adequately supervise Mulligan.

In court papers, some of the men have claimed that the IABA failed to identify aspects of Mulligan's behaviour, including his conduct in one-on-one training sessions with children, his inappropriate training methods and spending excessive periods of time with children.

The Smithboro boxing club in Co Monaghan where Mulligan coached is also being sued in its capacity as an affiliate of the IABA. Mr Murphy told the Irish Independent that everyone involved in boxing was involved on a voluntary basis and said that while it had completely revised its child welfare procedures, there were "no guarantees" that children would not be abused again. The IABA has an insurance policy in place, but it fears that the policy will not be sufficient to meet the claims.

Last night, solicitor Kathrin Coleman of Dublin law firm Lavelle Coleman, who is acting for some of the men, confirmed that the High Court had allocated a number of dates in the next jury session.

Irish Independent

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