Belfast Telegraph

Ex-GAA treasurer now charged with abusing 12 people over 30 years

Thomas McKenna has appeared in court charged with sex attacks against children
Thomas McKenna has appeared in court charged with sex attacks against children

By Paul Higgins

A former GAA treasurer is facing one of the largest sex cases in Northern Ireland legal history after he was charged with abusing three further alleged victims yesterday.

Thomas McKenna (58) is now accused of the sexual abuse of 12 people over an almost 30 year time span.

On Wednesday District Judge Eamon King ordered the alleged pervert to be released into police custody to be questioned over further allegations and yesterday he was back in the dock of Banbridge Magistrates Court, sitting in Newry.

McKenna, whose address had been given as c/o Maghaberry prison, was charged with a total of 10 offences against three males including five counts of sexual assault, three counts of indecent assault and single counts of buggery and attempted buggery.

In relation to the fresh charges, McKenna is alleged to have abused all three complainants "on numerous dates" but the charges alleging penetration are only in relation to one of the three.

McKenna had already faced a total of 17 charges alleged to have been committed between 1988 and his arrest last August.

They include two counts of buggery against persons aged over 16 without consent, and two gross indecency offences, one of which was against a child.

He is also charged with sexual assault, voyeurism and eight counts of indecent assault, along with making and possessing indecent photographs of children.

The retired postman, who was treasurer for Crossmaglen Rangers, is further alleged to have interfered with mail during his time of employment.

Previous courts heard that the "serious and complex investigation" involves alleged victims who claim McKenna took photos and videos of them at locations without their permission.

Police searches led to the recovery of devices said to contain 43,000 still images and 8,000 short video clips - some allegedly taken covertly.

In court yesterday, McKenna confirmed his identity and that he understood the nature of the charges while a detective constable said she believed she could connect McKenna to each of the new offences.

As there was no bail application, District Judge Paul Copeland remanded McKenna back into custody.

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