Football

Glentoran Confirm Signing Of Convicted Sex Offender Jay Donnelly

Glentoran Confirm Signing Of Convicted Sex Offender Jay Donnelly

Glentoran confirmed the signing of Jay Donnelly from Belfast Celtic on Wednesday.

Last year, the 25-year-old served a three-month prison sentence for distributing an image of himself having sex with a 16-year-old girl in 2016.

Donnelly was sacked by Cliftonville in April, 2019 after he was sentenced. He was also charged by the Irish FA with bringing the game into disrepute. He joined Belfast Celtic in January.

In a statement, Glentoran said that the club is "fully aware of the issues in Jay’s past" and that "everyone deserves a chance to put mistakes behind them".

"Jay Donnelly was 20 years old when the incident in question took place," say Glentoran.

"He has expressed deep remorse at the serious lapse of judgement which led to his conviction. At the time of Jay’s offence, he was in a consensual act. Both parties were above the age of consent.

"A photograph was taken, and Jay’s crime was to share that photograph with a small, closed group of friends. This was wrong and Jay is fully aware [and] acknowledges it to be so. The photograph was then shared more widely by a third party, without the consent of either Jay or the young woman. As a result, Jay was convicted and served his punishment accordingly.

"Jay has since accepted that sharing the photo was deeply inappropriate and has apologised for his behaviour. This was an immature action for which he has paid a high price, and one that he profoundly regrets.

"Jay is now in a stable relationship. Jay’s overwhelming wish is to continue with his life in the company of his partner and their young son.

"Glentoran Football club believes that everyone deserves a chance to put mistakes behind them and Jay Donnelly is no different. The club acknowledges that he has both paid and atoned for his past mistakes and deserves the opportunity to rebuild his life and football career. We look forward to him making a positive contribution to the club, and to giving our supporters further reason to see the coming season as one of great opportunity for Glentoran."

Manager Mick McDermott said that Donnelly will be loaned back to Belfast Celtic until January.

"When Belfast Celtic let it be known that Jay might be available, we moved to sign him to increase our forward options," McDermott said.

"I’m aware of Jay’s ability and goalscoring record. I’m also aware of the incidents in his recent past and his remorse for them. I have made a judgement call here and I ask the Glentoran support to trust and back my judgement on this signing as with all the others."

Donnelly said that he has agreed with McDermott that he will undertake counselling while on loan at Belfast Celtic.

Picture: Glentoran.com

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