A complainant in the trial of a former sports coach accused of 266 counts of indecent and sexual assault has said a wooden area where the man tied him to a tree was a “torture place”.
The 72-year-old Waterford man, who can’t be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to counts of indecently and sexually assaulting five boys in locations in Waterford, Cork, and Kilkenny on dates between 1978 and 1993.
The court has heard that the five complainants are now men in their 40s and 50s. Two of them are brothers. The court has heard they came into contact with the complainant when they were boys or teenagers in various ways, including as a sports coach and family friend.
It is the State’s case that inappropriate sexual contact took place between the accused man and the boys, which included exposing himself, fondling, masturbation, handcuffing, urination and defecation.
The fifth complainant, now aged 56, told Paul Greene SC, prosecuting, on Thursday that he joined a sports team coached by the man when he was about 12.
He said the contact began with the man rubbing his leg, which progressed to tying him with twine and handcuffs and touching his genital area. The man also took naked photos of the boy in locations including the man’s car and home.
The complainant said the man would take him to a wooden area, tie him to a tree, then squeeze his genitals and threaten him. The complainant said the wooded area was the “worst” and described it as the “torture place”.
The complainant said the man threatened to burn him with a cigarette on one occasion and left him there on another.
The complainant said the incidents continued on a weekly basis until he was 15. He said he received money from the man. The complainant said he persuaded his father to allow him to move schools.
The witness denied a suggestion from John Peart SC, defending, that he had no involvement with the accused man.
Mr Peart put it to the complainant that he was “getting on the bandwagon” and had “given evidence of what you knew happened to other people”.
The complainant said he could only speak about what happened to him. He said there is “nothing in this for me”, and he wanted to get it “out of my head after all these years”.
The witness also rejected Mr Peart’s suggestion that he made up a story about being tied up in the woods. Mr Peart put it to the man that he told the jury he was burnt with a cigarette to make the story “more believable”.
The complainant said he is “not a liar” and had “told the truth”.
In earlier evidence, the fourth complainant, now aged 52, told Mr Greene he first met the accused when he started playing sports aged about seven.
On his ninth birthday, the complainant said he and another boy went to the man’s office. The complainant said the man got him to sit on a chair and then used twine to tie his hands.
The man cut him free after a few minutes and then dropped the complainant home, the man said. The complainant agreed with prosecuting counsel that he knew about a “money situation” before this incident.
“We would have got cans of beer off him the odd time. I had a fair idea what was going to happen,” he said.
The complainant said he returned to the office a few times, and the defendant would “put his hands down your pants” and fondle his penis.
He said he went to places regularly with the accused man, including beaches, wooded areas and lay-bys. These outings often took place after matches, the witness said, adding that the man would provide alcohol “most of the time”.
He said nothing would happen if there was a group of players in the car, but “if you were last to be dropped home”, there could be inappropriate sexual contact. The complainant said this started when he was nine- or ten-years-old.
As he got older, he said the accused man started to bring him to wooden areas and tie him to a tree or tied himself to a tree.
He said the man would be naked or wearing women’s clothes when tied to a tree. He said he would often have to squeeze the man’s genitals or kick him.
He said he would have to perform oral sex on the man on other occasions. He said the man would also bring him to his home, where he would be handcuffed naked to a bed.
The complainant said the man would “play with you, rubbing himself”. This then progressed to the man performing oral sex.
The complainant confirmed there was “money and cans” involved in these interactions.
Mr Peart put it to the complainant that the jury had already heard his client would go drinking on Sunday nights and couldn’t have been with him on his birthday. The complainant said he remembers it happening on his birthday. He also reiterated in his evidence that he received money from the man.
Mr Peart put it to the complainant that he was making up the allegations as questions would have been asked about large amounts of money. The complainant denied Mr Peart’s contention and said he spent the money.
The complainant told Mr Peart it was “not true” that he was over 15 when the sexual acts with the man started. The witness accepted that he engaged in sexual acts for money after the age of 15.
The trial continues on Monday before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury.