Monday 17 June 2019

Ex-GAA coach facing up to 400 child abuse charges 'groomed victim with job, gifts, money and trips away'

Man faces extradition from US charged with multiple assaults

The Homeland Security Department headquarters in north-west Washington DC (AP)
The Homeland Security Department headquarters in north-west Washington DC (AP)
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

A former GAA sports coach who was arrested in the US on almost 400 child abuse charges last week is accused of grooming one of his victims by giving him a job, gifts and taking him on trips.

The man is alleged to have abused two children between 2004 and 2009 in the sports grounds where he was a "well-known and well-liked" member of a small sporting community, according to court papers lodged in the US.

Many of the alleged offences took place in a sports ground and small stadium where the alleged abuser coached under-age teams and helped with administration.

Gardai began investigating the allegations in 2012 when one of the two complainants came forward. They encountered a second alleged victim during the course of that investigation.

According to court records, the man is accused of grooming the alleged victim by giving him "a job, gifts, money and trips away".

The suspect is now facing charges of sexually abusing this boy multiple times, from the age of 13. According to court records, the former coach was no longer in the country and had travelled to the United States and to the United Kingdom.

In September last year, gardai went through diplomatic channels to request US help to trace the man in America, according to court records.

Officers from Homeland Security found him in an apartment in the town of Guilderland, a suburb of Albany, north of New York, where he had been living since April last year.

The authorities used utility bills and postal records to confirm the former coach's new address.

He was last seen at the apartment last Sunday.

The man was arrested shortly before 7.30pm last Wednesday.

He appeared in court and, according to US media reports, he will face an extradition hearing this Friday.

The man is charged with 210 counts of sexual assault, 177 counts of rape, one count of attempted rape, three counts of assault causing harm, one count each of false imprisonment, damage to property and harassment.

Sunday Independent

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