Irish dancing judge linked to Feis fixing was subject to sex abuse settlement
10th October 2022
Adancing adjudicator embroiled in the competition fixing and sexual favours for prizes scandal that has rocked the international Irish dancing world was also at the centre of a child sex abuse investigation, the Irish Mail on Sunday can reveal.
It has also emerged the alleged abuser was allowed to continue teaching and judging at dance competitions after details emerged of the case – involving three dancers, two of whom were minors when they were allegedly abused.
A source familiar with the case told the MoS: ‘There were three cases, and confidentiality agreements were involved when the cases were resolved.
‘There are no pending cases involving this person that I know of, but it doesn’t surprise me that this person is mentioned in allegations about Feis fixing and inducements allegedly being offered to judges so certain competitors won and others lost.
‘These kids involved in Irish dancing push themselves very hard and now they are finding out what allegedly was going on behind the scenes. That is sad.’
The judge involved in the sex abuse case is not one of those whose text messages have been published this week.
The international governing body for Irish dancing refused to answer questions this weekend relating to the sex abuse case, which was settled in September last year.
An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha also refused to answer any questions about why it allowed the dance adjudicator and teacher at the centre of the case to remain teaching and judging at feiseanna.
The CLRG was one of a number of defendants listed in the sex abuse case lodged in the US state of New Jersey in December 2019. The other named defendants were the Irish Dance Teacher’s Association of North America, the Irish Dance Teacher’s Association of Mid-Atlantic Region, the
Irish Dance Teacher’s Association of New England, the Irish Dance Teacher’s Association of Eastern Region, the North American Feis
Commission and North American Championship Inc.
The three who took the civil cases seeking compensation did so on the basis that they did not want their identities publicly known. They are listed in court documents using the surname of Doe.
Official court documents – seen by the MoS – state ‘the matter in the above entitled action having been amicably adjusted by and between the parties, it is hereby stipulated and agreed that the same be and it is hereby dismissed without costs’ against the defendants with prejudice. This usually means the case was settled. The MoS understands that as part of the deal all those involved signed non-disclosure agreements.
Meanwhile, the four-day All-Scotland Championships, which opened at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, concludes today.
This week, it emerged the CLRG, the governing body which regulates Irish dancing worldwide had appointed a former Court of Appeal Judge to probe allegations of whether there was collusion between teachers and judges to fix feis results and whether judges were offered inducements to favour some competitors over others.
The Irish dance industry has become a lucrative business, and high-profile wins at major feiseanna can be a valuable springboard for youngsters eager to become professional dancers and teachers.
However, an inquiry was ordered after a series of highly embarrassing text messagesexposing efforts by dance teachers and adjudicators to fix competition outcomes and which included a request for sexual favours in return for dancers making it to the winners’ podium, were sent by a disillusioned American dance teacher to the CLRG.
Details of the texts were exposed by RTÉ’s Liveline programme and our sister paper, the Irish Daily Mail, this week.
Earlier this week, the CLRG bemoaned the fact the scandal had been made public, claiming it could prejudice its investigation.
It wrote in a letter to its membership: ‘These allegations leaked initially on social media and picked up by mainstream media, are causing untold upset and distress throughout the dancing world with calls for immediate sanctions on the alleged perpetrators.’
They reminded members they ‘have policies and procedures in place for dealing with such matters which are available for all to see in the disciplinary policy under the “Rules” section on the website’.
The email added: ‘Please be mindful that any attempt to short-circuit the established procedures could seriously jeopardise the ongoing investigation and any disciplinary findings that arise. Your ongoing patience while due process is followed is appreciated.’
The CLRG said its ethics committee received the allegations in July, along with supporting documentation, of several grievous breaches of their code of conduct.
‘The process will no doubt be difficult and arduous, but this grossly unethical behaviour must be eliminated from our competitions, dance schools and governing organisations.’
The CLRG said it would not make any further comment until this process is complete.