Former sports coach pleads guilty to sexually abusing five boys in Waterford

Former Sports Coach Pleads Guilty To Sexually Abusing Five Boys In Waterford
Judge Nolan said the man's behaviour was “grossly immoral from 10 to 20” and that he took “advantage” of the boys according to the evidence of the complainants, but he had to make an assessment on the basis of legal principles.
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Eimear Dodd

A former sports coach on trial for 266 counts of indecent and sexual assault will be sentenced next month after pleading guilty to 13 sample counts of indecent assault.

On the sixth day of the trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, the 72-year-old Waterford man, who can't be named to protect the anonymity of his victims, pleaded guilty to 13 sample counts of indecently assaulting five boys in locations in Waterford on unknown dates between December 1979 and March 1990.


The man had been on trial in relation to 266 counts of indecently and sexually assaulting five boys in locations in Waterford, Cork, and Kilkenny on dates between 1978 and 1993. He initially denied any wrongdoing and entered not guilty pleas at the start of the trial.

Paul Greene SC, prosecuting, told the court on Tuesday that the pleas were acceptable to the Director of Public Prosecution on the basis of full facts being heard in evidence at sentencing. He asked the court to request victim impact statements and adjourn the case for sentencing.

Judge Martin Nolan told the jury that it is “not unusual” for accused people to make “certain decisions” during a trial. He thanked the jurors for their service.

Judge Nolan remanded the man in custody and adjourned the case to May 22 for sentencing.


The prosecution case had ended yesterday/Monday morning with evidence of the man's interviews with gardai in which he claimed one complainant was “tutored” by “other victims” so they could sue An Garda Siochana and that another complainant had fabricated his allegations.

Lawyers for the man then made a legal application to have all the charges withdrawn from the jury. After hearing the legal arguments from the defence and prosecution rebuttals, Judge Nolan said he had to look at the law as it stood in the 1980s. He noted that the “blunt instrument” of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1935 said, “this activity was legal post-15 if there’s consent”.

Judge Nolan concluded that what the accused man did was “immoral in the eyes of the court, but not criminally illegal” and the counts relating to alleged incidents when the complainants were 15 years of age or older should not be considered by the jury.

Judge Nolan said if these alleged incidents had occurred more recently, there would be other charges, such as child grooming or exploitation, to deal with the accused man's behaviour towards the complainants after their fifteenth birthdays.


Judge Nolan said the man's behaviour was “grossly immoral from 10 to 20” and that he took “advantage” of the boys according to the evidence of the complainants, but he had to make an assessment on the basis of legal principles.

Inappropriate contact

In his opening speech, Paul Greene SC, prosecuting, told jurors they would hear evidence that the five complainants came into contact with the accused man when they were boys and teenagers in various ways, including as a sports coach and a family friend.

The jury heard evidence that inappropriate sexual contact took place between the accused man and the boys.

The first complainants, now aged 51, told the court that the accused man offered him money to expose his penis when he was 13 years old. The complainant said this happened regularly before it progressed to other sexual acts. He said he engaged in the acts for the money and gifts.


John Peart SC, defending, suggested the complainant was trying to make out he was younger than he was at the time of the allegations.

“You have stretched the ages to turn yourself under the age of 15 for this trial because 15 is [was] the age of consent,” defence counsel said. The complainant denied this. “It was from the age I went to secondary school to when I was 20,” he said.

The second complainant, now aged 48, told the court that when he was aged around 12, the accused man started making “sexual innuendos” to him. He said the defendant then offered him money if he would let the man touch his penis.

He said these interactions became a regular occurrence and progressed to include other sexual acts. He said he agreed to the acts “for the money”.


Mr Peart suggested that “nothing untoward happened” to him before he was 15. The complainant said it started when he was 12 and then became “the norm”.


The complainant agreed with Mr Peart that he consented to acts from the age of 15 but rejected a suggestion that the accused man never gave him money.

The third complainant, now 52, gave evidence that he got into the man's car one day after finishing his exams in June 1985 when he was around 14. The man drove to the edge of the town, then put his hand down the boy's jeans and touched his penis.

The complainant said this lasted for one or two minutes but “felt like a lifetime”. He said he went to the local garda station the next day to report what had happened and was told he would need an adult with him to make a complaint.

Under cross-examination, he agreed with the defence counsel that there are no records that he went to gardaí. He said the accused regularly gave him money.

The fourth complainant, now aged 52, told Mr Greene that the inappropriate contact with the man started when he was nine or 10 years old.  The complainant said there was “money and cans” involved in these interactions.

He told Mr Peart it was “not true” that he was over 15 when the sexual acts with the man started. He agreed that he engaged in these acts for money after the age of 15.

The fifth complainant, now 56, told the court that the inappropriate contact began when he was around 12, and these acts continued weekly until he was 15. He said the man gave him money.

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Mr Peart put it to the complainant that he had given evidence about what happened to other people.  The complainant said he could only speak about what happened to him.

Memos of the man's five interviews with gardaí were read to the jury. The man told gardai that he had a consensual sexual relationship with the second complainant after he turned 18.

The defendant said he had no recollection of the alleged incident involving the third complainant. The accused man suggested this complainant was “tutored” by “other victims” so they could sue An Garda Siochana.

The man said allegations made by the fourth complainant were a “fabrication”. The man said he was “suspicious” of the allegations made by the fifth complainant, suggesting people may come forward “in the hope of getting money”.

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