Ex-GAA coach extradited to Ireland from US to face almost 400 child sex abuse charges
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Ex-GAA coach extradited to Ireland from US to face almost 400 child sex abuse charges

A FORMER GAA coach accused of almost 400 counts of sexual abuse against children has been extradited to Ireland from the United States.

Raymond 'Ray' Donlon, who is in his 30s, was detained upon arrival at Dublin Airport this morning after an overnight flight from Boston.

Donlon, who fled Ireland in 2013, was arrested by the US Department of Homeland Security on January 16 after being tracked down to an apartment in Guilderland, New York.

The move came after an Irish district court issued a warrant for Donlon's arrest back in September 2017, and Gardaí in the Midlands were assisted by Interpol as well as US and UK authorities for around 18 months to bring Donlon back to Ireland.

He faces a total of 394 criminal charges related to the "protracted sexual abuse" of two minors over a five-year period, mostly at a GAA ground and hotels in Co. Longford from 2004 to 2009.

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Overall, Donlon is charged with 210 counts of sexual assault, 177 counts of rape, three counts of assault causing harm and one count each of attempted rape, false imprisonment, damage to property and harassment.

Donlon, aged in his 30s, most recently worked as a GAA photographer in the Midlands (Image: Twitter)

It emerged during the Irishman's extradition hearing in New York that he came in contact with his alleged victims through his involvement with the GAA in the Midlands, where he most recently worked as a GAA photographer in Co. Longford.

Donlon attempted to fight his extradition by arguing that Irish authorities had not proved "probable cause" to their American partners.

This argument was rejected by Northern District of New York Magistrate Judge Daniel Stewart, who ruled there was "probable cause to believe that the crimes charged occurred and that the accused is responsible.

"The charges at issue derive from the claim that Mr Donlon had a long-standing sexually abusive relationship with two young boys whom he had befriended, groomed, and exploited when they were between the ages of 12 and 19," the judge said.

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He added that the case involved a large number of witnesses and that the accused left Ireland before Gardaí could question him.

Garda investigators heard from the first alleged victim in November 2012, who claimed he had been sexually abused by Donlon between the ages of 11 and 16 up until 2009.

Then in September 2013, a second complainant came forward and described "relentless sexual abuse" allegedly inflicted upon him by his former GAA coach from the age of 13.

This second victim alleged that Donlon groomed him from the age of 12, giving him jobs to do as well as gifts, money and trips away from a difficult home life before abusing him between 2004 and 2006.

Ray Donlon was due to appear before a District Court in the Midlands later on Friday.