Trainer made boys pray before abusing them

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The Independent Online

The celebrated trainer of former world boxing champion Barry McGuigan has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years for the buggery and sexual assault of five teenage boys over a 13-year period.

Frank Mulligan,63, of Mulladuff, Smithboro, Co Monaghan, made some of his victims pray before and after the sex attacks, which he claimed was "God's will".

Mulligan, who is already serving a seven-year jail sentence for similar offences against boys following a trial last year, was one of the top amateur boxing coaches in the country.

Mr McGuigan declined to comment on Mulligan's conviction as one of Mulligan's victims, Gerard Smyth, made an emotional plea for victims to speak out against their abusers.

Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court heard that Mulligan's reputation was now ruined.

One complainant broke down in the witness box and told the judge his life had been destroyed by Mulligan's repeated sexual abuse and buggery of him on a date in late 1997.

The man said he'd been on a "path of self destruction" since the incidents: he couldn't hold down a job, had a troubled family life and had at times turned to alcohol, drugs and petty crime.

Garda Sean Grant agreed with Iseult O'Malley, defending, that her client's reputation as a leading boxing coach had been ruined, but added that Mulligan had showed no sign of remorse for his actions to date.

He agreed that Mulligan replaced his long-time alcohol addiction with a religious obsession after his mother died in 2008 and had been known to wander the streets of Monaghan at night praying.

Mulligan pleaded guilty to buggery of three boys and sexual and indecent assault of two others in different locations between January 1989 and July 2002. He was convicted of similar offences against other boys in early 2008 and had been jailed for seven years.

Judge Katherine Delahunt said that Mulligan had abused the trust that victims and their parents had put in him when he committed these "heinous" acts and said they had been carried out under the "veil of religion and pseudo-discipline".

"The suffering that each of these men endured for your self-gratification cannot be understated and their suffering will continue into the future," Judge Delahunt said.

Judge Delahunt accepted that Mulligan had been abused himself as a child, that he has since shown remorse for his actions and has indicated an intention to seek treatment.

She further accepted that although he initially denied the charges he ultimately pleaded guilty, meaning his victims "did not have to relive the horrors in the witness box". She ordered that he undergo seven years' post-release supervision and counselling as recommended by the probation service.

Gda Grant told prosecuting counsel that Mulligan had lured one victim back to his home for sports massages after training or before a boxing match.

The victim told gardai his ex-coach made him lie naked on his double bed the day before a fight, and rubbed oil on his body and penis.

Gda Grant said the then-15-year-old described an incident in March 1997, when he woke up after falling asleep during a massage to find Mulligan naked and having oral sex with him.

Another man told gardai that Mulligan made him pray on a cushion placed on the floor of his home in November 2000.

The man said Mulligan "whispered" the 'Our Father' as he rubbed the boy's body under his clothes. Mulligan opened his own trousers and told the then 16-year-old boy: "If you want me to train you, you have to accept God's will."

The victim said his ex-coach told him to "do what I'm doing, it is God's will" as he masturbated him while chanting prayers.

Source: Irish Independent