Sunday 24 February 2019

GAA coach facing 394 child sex abuse charges can be extradited

Following the judge’s decision, the man will be held in custody pending final approval of his extradition by the Secretary of State for New York. Stock Image
Following the judge’s decision, the man will be held in custody pending final approval of his extradition by the Secretary of State for New York. Stock Image
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A judge in New York has ruled a former GAA coach can be extradited to Ireland to face almost 400 charges of child sex abuse.

The suspect has been in custody since January 16 and sought to be released on bail last week. His sister asked a judge to release him because she said he had health problems.

His lawyer said his client had not fled Ireland, as claimed by authorities, but moved to the US, where he lived openly and used his real name.

However, in a ruling yesterday, Judge Daniel Stewart of the District Court in Albany certified the man could be extradited.

"Having reviewed the documents that have been appropriately authenticated and submitted to the court, and having conducted a hearing and listened to the representative for the government and [the suspect's] attorney, I now conclude that the requirements of extradition have been satisfied," the judge said in a written ruling.

The judge also rejected an argument put forward by the man's lawyer that probable cause had not been proven, which is required before an extradition request can be certified.

"The court also finds probable cause to believe that the crimes charged occurred and the accused is responsible," Judge Stewarts said.

"The charges at issue derive from the claim that [the suspect] had a long-standing sexually abusive relationship with two young boys whom he had befriended, groomed, and exploited when they were between the ages of 12 and 19.

"The detail provided in the statement of facts and the information provided to the court is extensive, and the court notes that the information is based upon a large number of witness statements, including statements from the alleged victims and independent exhibits. [The suspect] himself left Ireland before he had an opportunity to be questioned by the police in the presence of his solicitor."

The man left Ireland in 2013 while gardaí were investigating claims he sexually abused two boys at a GAA ground and elsewhere between 2004 and 2009.

He is charged with 394 criminal counts - including 210 of sexual assault and 177 counts of rape - arising from alleged prolonged sexual abuse of two minor victims.

Warrants for his arrest were issued by a District Court judge in Ireland in September 2017. In September of last year investigators from the Department of Homeland Security located him in the town of Guilderland, near Albany.

Following the judge's decision, the man will be held in custody pending final approval of his extradition by the Secretary of State for New York.

Irish Independent

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