Have the sexual abuse lawsuits filed in New Jersey last week forced you to reconsider your family's involvement with competitive Irish dancing?
*Update: This poll is now closed. Stay tuned for results.
Last week, IrishCentral was the first to report on three lawsuits that were filed in Bergen County, New Jersey alleging sexual abuse within one of the competitive Irish dancing communities.
While CLRG, the oldest and largest governing body of competitive Irish dancing in the world, the IDTANA, and the Mid Atlantic Region were named in all three lawsuits, both the Mid America Region and the Southern Region were additionally named in two of them.
The individual Irish dance teachers, who the lawsuit says are all males, and Irish dance schools have been anonymized as only D.T., D.I., who is deceased, the ‘ABC School of Irish dance,’ and the ‘XYZ School of Irish dance.’
The plaintiffs, who are also all males, have been anonymized as John Doe, Jack Doe, and Pat Doe. Two of the plaintiffs, John Doe and Pat Doe, were minors when the alleged incidents of sexual assault occurred.
The incident involving John Doe, a minor at the time, allegedly occurred at an Irish dancing competition in 2016, while the string of incidents involving Pat Doe, also a minor at the time, allegedly occurred in the mid-to-late 1980s.
The defendant D.T. is accused of sexually assaulting Jack Doe, John Doe, and Pat Doe, while the late D.I. is also accused of sexually abusing Pat Doe.
On December 7, both CLRG and IDTANA released statements responding to the news of the lawsuits. The Mid Atlantic Region also reportedly issued a statement, but only in an email to teachers within the region. CLRG’s statement reaffirmed its commitment to the safety of children, while IDTANA said it intends to fully cooperate with authorities.
Both CLRG and IDTANA’s statements indicated that the organizations had not yet been served the lawsuits that were re-filed in Bergen County, New Jersey on Wednesday, December 4.
Initial lawsuits were filed on Monday, December 2, but they were withdrawn and sealed on Tuesday, December 3 for undisclosed reasons.
While the nature of the lawsuits has many parents of Irish dancers concerned, other parents and Irish dance community members are keen to let both sides get their due process before any conclusions are made.
We want to know: Have the lawsuits filed against these Irish dance entities forced you to reconsider your children’s involvement with Irish dancing?
Let us know in our poll here:
If you have any information about the sexual assault allegations within the competitive Irish dancing community, you are urged to reach out to your local authorities immediately.
If you have a story about issues within competitive Irish dancing that you want to be highlighted, email Editors@IrishCentral.com. Sources can be kept anonymous where preferred.