Coach is banned in abuse inquiry

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NEWCASTLE CITY Council has suspended a male coach amid allegations of indecent assault of children at one of its sports centres.

The suspension comes just weeks after the council was criticised by an independent review team investigating allegations of sexual abuse of children at one of its nurseries.

The council refused to give details of the case yesterday, but a spokesman confirmed that social services chiefs were meeting police.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "We are investigating allegations of indecent assaults at a sports centre. These allegations do involve young people and it's likely to be a protracted inquiry."

The council has written to parents of children who use the centre to explain the suspension. A council spokeswoman said: "A member of staff has been suspended following a complaint and an investigation is under way. Until that develops further we cannot say any more about the allegations.

"Those people who need to be made aware of the situation have been. Once the suspension had been made, letters went out to people who we thought might be able to help with the investigation."

The council was recently criticised aftera an inquiry sought by angry parents in response to a court case in which two nursery workers were accused of sexual offences against children in their care.

The charges were dismissed after the trial judge ruled that the videotaped evidence of an alleged victim, aged five, was inadmissible.

The council, which subsequently apologised publicly to parents of nursery children, has since implemented chan-ges and is still discussing other recommendations outlined by the review team.