#minorsextrafficking | Former Irish National Center Coach Charged With Sexual Exploitation of Children

An Irish swim coach who previously served on the National Training Center staff has been charged with sexual exploitation of children.

Matthew Coward, 31, was arrested by Gardaí (Irish police) and charged with sexual exploitation and making child sex abuse material on Thursday and was subsequently granted bail pending trial after appearing in Court.

Coward has been charged with 12 offenses under Ireland’s Child Trafficking and Pornography Act over a six-month period that allegedly occurred between September 2021 and February 2022.

He is accused of three counts of sexual exploitation of children, seven counts of producing child pornography, including videos, and three counts of possession of child pornography.

Coward was named to the Itish National Training Center staff in 2018-19, and was most recently tabbed to lead a new Swim Ireland program called “Project 28” in November 2021. The story that announced he was taking over this position has since been taken down, but is still archived on the web here. That program was “designed to provide an amplified coaching environment for Dublin-based athletes with 2028 prospects.”

Sergeant Shane Behan told the court he arrested Coward at his home on Thursday morning before bringing him to the Finglas Garda Station where he was charged.

Coward’s bail conditions include that he remain at his current residence, sign in twice a week at the Santry Garda Station and stay away from the location where the offenses allegedly took place, which is reportedly a pool in Dublin.

He is also restricted from contacting any of the witnesses in the case and was ordered to “refrain from engaging in any coaching roles”.

Coward was granted free legal aid and is scheduled to appear at Blanchardstown District Court on September 13.

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