Belfast Telegraph

Gardai will quiz journalist about under-age sex claims

By Tom Brady

Gardai hope to be given the go-ahead shortly to interview a prominent sports journalist about allegations that he had sex with an under-age girl.

The garda investigation was launched last March after the journalist's daughter allegedly found text messages he had sent to the girl on an old phone.

But they were unable to talk to him about the complaint as he was admitted to hospital for medical treatment shortly after it was launched.

The journalist has now been discharged from hospital after being seriously ill during the summer and investigating officers are waiting for approval from his doctors to carry out the interview.

The investigation is being carried out by gardai from a city station and members of the domestic violence and sexual assault unit, which is part of the national bureau of criminal investigation, based at Harcourt Square in Dublin city centre.

The journalist had given the phone to his daughter, who was collecting old mobiles to donate to a charity.

It is alleged she found the texts as well as photographs of the under-age girl while she was putting a new sim card into the phone.

His daughter showed the texts to other members of her family and they contacted the gardai and handed over the phone.

Gardai have since completed a detailed interview with the girl and she has given them her account of the relationship she had with him in the months leading up to the alleged statutory rape and afterwards.

The relationship is alleged to have started while the journalist was coaching and mentoring the girl and other members of a GAA team.

If the journalist is charged and convicted of statutory rape, he faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment handed down by the courts.

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