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Former GAA treasurer alleged to have sexually abused 20 victims, court hears

Thomas McKenna Crossmaglen

A former GAA treasurer is alleged to have sexually abused 20 victims, a court heard on Wednesday.

During a brief mention of the case against Thomas McKenna at Newry Magistrates’ Court, sitting in Lisburn, a prosecuting lawyer told the court “there are 20 victims” who were allegedly abused by the 59-year-old.

She revealed that in addition, police have conducted “40 ABE (achieving best evidence) interviews” with those 20 alleged victims and asking for the case to be adjourned for a month, told District Judge Mark McGarrity “there’s still a large amount of work to be done.”

“The file has been allocated to a senior prosecutor,” said the lawyer, “so there’s unlikely to be a decision before the end of August.”

He was initially charged in October 2018 but was questioned again by police last September on further sex abuse allegations.

McKenna, whose address is c/o Maghaberry Prison, is facing charges across two bills of indictment relating to the sexual abuse of 12 victims over an almost 30 year time span.

On one set of charges he is facing 10 offences against three males.

On a second indictment, the former GAA treasurer faces a total of 17 charges alleged to have been committed between 1988 and his arrest in August 2018.

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 have heard that the “serious and complex investigation” involves alleged victims who claim McKenna either sexually abused them or took photos and videos of them 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.

During the mention yesterday defence solicitor Gerard Trainor said he had no objection to the four week adjournment and a hearing will take place again on August 19.

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