The new lawsuit comes after three separate sexual abuse lawsuits were filed in Bergen County, NJ in December 2019
A fourth lawsuit that alleges sexual abuse within the CLRG Irish dancing organization was filed in Bergen County, New Jersey on January 31.
The new lawsuit anonymizes the plaintiff as James Doe, a resident of New Jersey who was a minor at the time of the alleged incidents.
The individual defendants are also anonymized as “D.I.,” a resident of New Jersey who is now deceased, and “Tom Doe,” who is “believed to be a resident of Ireland.” Both D.I. and Tom Doe are CLRG-accredited Irish dance instructors and adjudicators, according to the lawsuit.
Additionally named as defendants are CLRG (An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha, the oldest and largest Irish dance governing body in the world), IDTANA (the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America), the Mid-Atlantic Region, the Southern Region, and the IDTANA - Eastern Region.
The lawsuit states that James Doe "was sexually abused as a minor by D.I. and Tom Doe on multiple occasions” and that “at all material times, defendants knew or should have known that defendant Tom Doe and D.I. were a danger to minors.”
The lawsuit claims: “As a result of these incidents, Plaintiff suffered physical harm and continues to suffer extreme emotional distress and other damages.”
Allegations against D.I.
The lawsuit asserts that plaintiff James Doe was abused by D.I., who is now deceased, beginning in or about 1984 during Irish dance practices at a New Jersey residence that had a “private dance studio” in the basement, as well at local Irish dance competitions (Feisanna) in and around New Jersey and New York.
James Doe also claims to have been sexually abused by D.I. in or about 1986 during the World Irish Dancing Championships that were hosted in Limerick, Ireland.
D.I. is accused of sexual abuse “including but not limited to sexual contact that consisted of placing his hand on Plaintiff’s buttocks, both outside of his shorts and inside his shorts,” as well as “hugging and grabbing Plaintiff while at the same time brushing, patting, grabbing or placing his hand on Plaintiff’s buttocks, both outside of his shorts and inside his shorts.”
Allegations against Tom Doe
James Doe additionally accuses Tom Doe of sexual abuse that began in or around the summer of 1987 and continued through 1988.
Tom Doe is accused of sexually abusing the plaintiff on multiple occasions in a private residence located in Bergen County, New Jersey. These allegations include but are not limited to “sexual contact that consisted of climbing into Plaintiff’s bed, masturbating, and ejaculating on Plaintiff or wiping his semen on various parts of Plaintiff’s body and face.”
Tom Doe is also accused of “finding isolated public places during Irish dance competition events where Tom Doe could secretly touch, masturbate and ejaculate on Plaintiff. These instances of abuse occurred at Irish dance competitions held in various locations in New Jersey, Rockland County and Albany, New York, and Washington D.C.”
CLRG, IDTANA, the Mid Atlantic Region, and the Southern Region are collectively accused of:
- Failing to have adequate processes for detection, investigation and reporting of sexual abuse allegations;
- Failure to enforce processes for detection, investigation and reporting of sexual abuse allegations;
- Failing to investigate complaints of child sex abuse, together with other complaints, made regarding Defendant D.I .and Tom Doe;
ignoring complaints of child sex abuse made regarding Defendants D.I. and Tom Doe;
- Concealing complaints of child sex abuse made regarding Defendants D.I. and Tom Doe;
- Failing to report complaints of child sex abuse made regarding Defendants D.I. and Tom Doe to appropriate authorities for investigation
The lawsuit accuses defendant Tom Doe of sexual abuse, assault and battery, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
CLRG, IDTANA, the Southern Region, and the Mid Atlantic region are collectively accused of vicarious liability; negligence; negligent hiring, training, accreditation, and supervision; and the failure to detect, investigate, and report sexual abuse.
Punitive damages are being sought from all defendants.
The fourth lawsuit was filed about two months after three separate lawsuits were filed in Bergen County, New Jersey which made similar allegations of sexual abuse within the CLRG organization. Of the four lawsuits that have now been filed, three involve the sexual abuse of a minor.
The three initial lawsuits also anonymized the plaintiffs as Jack Doe, John Doe, and Pat Doe. A “D.I.” is named in the Pat Doe lawsuit, though it is unclear if it is the same defendant as in the newly-filed James Doe lawsuit.
The fourth lawsuit was filed as CLRG is preparing to host its annual All-Ireland competition later this month in Killarney, Co Kerry, as well as its 50th anniversary World Irish Dancing Championship over the Easter period in Dublin in April.
All four lawsuits were filed by Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, who are encouraging other potential victims to reach out for a consultation.
If you have any information about the sexual assault allegations with the competitive Irish dancing community, you are urged to reach out to your local authorities immediately.
If you have a story about sexual assault within competitive Irish dancing that you want highlighted, email Editors@IrishCentral.com. Sources can be kept anonymous where preferred.