A former football coach sexually assaulted a 14-year-old boy when he was giving him private coaching lessons, a court has heard.
John Marshall, 71, of Longbenton, North Tyneside, has denied 11 charges of indecent assault on five boys dating back to the late 1970s and 1980s.
Judge Stephen Earl told Newcastle Crown Court that Mr Marshall was not well enough to attend his trial.
But he said jurors must not "hold this against him".
The hearing was told the 14-year-old boy had been coached by the defendant on Saturday afternoons because he had wanted to improve his game.
The court also heard that the boys claimed to have been assaulted on seven or eight occasions but had been too afraid to tell anyone.
Mr Marshall was arrested in January 2017 as part of Northumbria Police's Operation Tide, which is an ongoing investigation into allegations of child abuse at football clubs in the North East.
The trial continues.