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Men tell court of weekly sexual assaults in Waterford betting office in 1980s

A trial has heard allegations that two teenagers were sexually abused at a betting office in Waterford 40 years ago.

The accused, now aged in his 80s, has pleaded not guilty to 12 charges of indecent assault against one of the men.

The two men making the accusations - now in their 50s - have said they were encouraged to gamble by the accused and developed addictions as a result, with a second man allegedly introduced in both cases to take part in the assaults.

Both alleged they were abused weekly and sometimes multiple times each week at the bookmakers while they were youths.

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The accused pleaded guilty to the offences against one of the men 20 years ago but has contested claims made by a different man in a fresh case before the court.

It is the defence's case that the accused was "blackmailed" after the new complainant learned compensation was paid for the sexual offences against the other man.

This has been denied by the prosecution and the alleged victim.

Evidence

A jury at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court heard from the first accuser via video link, where he said he made a complaint to gardaí in the early 2000s.

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This case concluded following the guilty plea of the man standing trial in the current matter before the court.

He said he was assaulted after hours in a retail premises while a first year student in secondary school and that the abuse continued for two years subsequently.

The accused man, now aged in his 80s, has denied assaulting the second man at the premises in the early 1980s, while his defence team has contended the current charges were made because an alleged "blackmail" attempt did not succeed, after it was discovered he paid compensation to his victim from the earlier case.

A jury at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court heard from the first accuser via video link, where he said he made a complaint to gardaí in the early 2000s.

This case concluded following the guilty plea of the man standing trial in the current matter before the court.

In that early 2000s case, the accused paid "a cheque of €19,000 to his accuser", the defence said.

The court heard the earlier offences occurred after hours in the bookies which began with the man making excuses for why they needed to be there after hours, with the man then masturbating the victim. This then progressed to anal sex, the victim told the court.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Colman Cody, the man insisted he did not know the complainant in the new case.

The jury heard previously from the complainant that both of the younger men had met in a betting office in Waterford city decades prior but that the conversation did not go beyond gambling.

The man from the 2000s case said he accepted the compensation from the accused and added the guilty plea was the "most significant" outcome of the complaint, as it meant he did not have to go before a jury, whereas this case has meant, "I have to stand up here and relive everything".

He said he had been in many betting offices and could not recall ever speaking to the complainant.

"One of the outcomes of the abuse perpetrated by [accused's name] is I became a compulsive gambler. I gambled in every bookies in the South East of Ireland."

The complainant has denied trying to blackmail the accused and insisted that he had no contact with him since the 1980s, bar bumping into him at a race in Tramore.

Former girlfriend's evidence

He previously told the court he disclosed to a girlfriend in the late 1980s that he had been assaulted at an old workplace.

That former girlfriend told the court that she recalled the complainant telling her he had been "sexually abused" and touched inappropriately at an old workplace while they were going out in the 1980s.

She said she had no contact with him after their relationship ended and could not remember specific details.

"He told me he had been abused," she said, "he was very, very upset about what happened. He didn't go into lots of detail."

The accused, now in his 80s, pleaded not guilty to the 12 charges of indecent assault on dates unknown between September 1st 1982 and June 30th 1983.

None of the men can be named for legal reasons.

The jury began deliberations yesterday and will continue today.

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