Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Suicide youth officer faced abuse inquiry

A senior educational youth officer who committed suicide was being investigated for alleged sexual abuse of a male teenager during a weekend group trip, it can be revealed.

David McCrory, whose wife is expecting their first baby in the summer, killed himself at Craigavon Lakes a fortnight ago.

However, it has emerged that a teenager and his family made an allegation of sexual abuse against him to his employers, the Southern Education and Library Board (SELB) and to the police.

The police began investigating the incident as soon as it was reported to them, and have written to the teenager in Co Down.

A spokesman for the education board confirmed both it and the police had been informed that the alleged abuse took place during a youth weekend trip, where Mr McCrory, who was in his late 30s, was in charge of a group of 10 young people.

On Mr McCrory’s return, the board telephoned him at his office and informed him of the allegation, and followed the laid-down procedures by suspending him on full pay pending investigations.

Mr McCrory was found dead later that same day at Craigavon Lakes, close to his home at Avondale Manor.

The SELB spokesman said: “Allegations of sexual misconduct were made in relation to a youth officer and these were reported to the police.

“The person who complained is not under the age of consent (which is 16), but it is understood that no consent was given. The person against whom the allegations were made is no longer alive and there will be an inquest in due course.”

Board officers are meeting to discuss the issue and will be considering what changes can be made to their youth services to tighten up procedures.

A relative of the teenager said that the young man was deeply traumatised by the entire situation, but had felt compelled to report the alleged incident.

“Obviously he is shattered by the consequences and the support of his family is paramount,” the relative said.

Police have confirmed that a crime was not suspected in the death of Mr McCrory.

Now that the education officer has taken his own life, the police investigation into the alleged sexual assault has been superseded.

However, a major inquiry into the matter will be conducted by the SELB.

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