RTE issue public apology for falsely accusing Catholic priest of child sexual abuse

In 23rd May 2011, RTÉ broadcast a Prime Time Investigates programme entitled “A Mission to Prey” that falsely accused Fr Kevin Reynolds of child sexual abuse while he was a missionary in Kenya and fathering a child named Sheila as a result.

Apart from the calumny against him, Fr Reynolds was obliged under the safeguarding regulations to step down from his post as parish priest and leave his home.

RTE have now completely withdrawn their appalling allegations against Fr Reynolds and unreservedly apologized:

‘RTÉ fully and unreservedly apologises to Fr. Kevin Reynolds for this defamation and deeply regrets the serious consequences suffered by him. He was entirely innocent of the allegations
broadcast about him.’

Here’s the rest of RTE’s apology:

‘On the evening of the 23rd May 2011, RTÉ broadcast a Prime Time Investigates programme entitled “A Mission to Prey”.

Before this broadcast Prime Time conducted an interview with Fr. Kevin Reynolds, the then parish priest at Ahascragh in Galway.

This interview took place beside the parochial house after the annual First Holy Communion Mass.

During this interview allegations were made against Fr. Reynolds. He immediately protested his innocence and denied all the allegations.

Between the interview and the broadcast, Fr. Kevin Reynolds, through his Solicitors, repeated his protestations of innocence, asked RTÉ not to broadcast the interview and volunteered to
undergo a paternity test.

Prime Time duly broadcast the programme accusing Fr. Reynolds of raping a minor named Veneranda while he was a missionary in Kenya and fathering a child named Sheila as a result of this rape.

He was also accused of secretly providing funds to Sheila.

Both Veneranda and Sheila were interviewed in the programme to corroborate the allegations.

As a result Fr. Kevin Reynolds was obliged to stand down from ministry and was removed as the parish priest of Ahascragh. He had to leave his home and his parish.

He was compelled by the actions of RTÉ to institute High Court defamation proceedings to vindicate his good name and reputation.

RTÉ acknowledges that the material in the programme concerning Fr. Reynolds ought never to have been broadcast.

RTÉ now fully and unreservedly accepts that the allegations made by Prime Time against Fr. Kevin Reynolds are baseless, without any foundation whatever and untrue and that Fr. Reynolds is a priest of the utmost integrity who has had an unblemished 40 year career in the priesthood and who has made a valuable contribution to society in Kenya and Ireland both in education and in ministry.

RTÉ acknowledges the defamation has had a devastating effect on Fr. Kevin Reynolds, his family, his peers, his parishioners in Ahascragh, those in the diocese of Kakamega in Kenya who were aware of the allegations and all those who know him or of him.

RTÉ fully and unreservedly apologises to Fr. Kevin Reynolds for this defamation and deeply regrets the serious consequences suffered by him. He was entirely innocent of the allegations
broadcast about him.

Protect the Pope comment: If RTE now acknowledge that their mendacious defamation of Fr Reynolds should never have been broadcast in the first place, why was it broadcast?

If RTE had ambushed an Irish politician with false allegations and broadcast them, for which they later apologized, what would happen to the journalists, news editors and RTE managers who were responsible for taking away his good name in such a gratuitous and unwarranted way?

As a respected commentator has written:

‘What about the faith of young people lost through this case. How will
RTE make up for this. Is it not time for the prime time staff to resign?
If prime time are the “watchdogs” who are watching the watchdogs?
What about our distress for Fr Reynolds, for our Church and for our
own faith and that of our family and friends?’

What has Enda Kenny said about this national scandal? Has he made a public statement?

It is important for us to complain to RTE and the Broadcasting
Authority of Ireland about this case. If you have a minute, email BAI, make a complaint, a couple of lines will do.
info@bai.ie

complaints@rte.ie

http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/1006/apology.html

4 comments to RTE issue public apology for falsely accusing Catholic priest of child sexual abuse

  • SpeSalvi23

    Innocent until proven guilty does not apply to Catholic Clergy.
    Strangely, it applies to all other persons accused of sexual abuse.

    • Karla

      Everyone assumes a Catholic Priest is guilty if accused; before even charged. Those who broadcast that program ought to resign. An apology is not enough. They broadcast a factually incorrect program, making false accusations.

  • Michael

    This subject was also commented upon by the Minister for Justice in Dail Eireann. Will the Minister and the Minister with responsibility for RTE now comment in Dail Eireann on this outrageous and widely publicised violation of a citizen’s right to a good name in this republic? Will there be any investigation into such deliberate slander of a citizen’s right to a good name? Will any person responsible for the slander be asked to stand aside while such an investigation takes place? If found to have deliberately ignored the facts or to have misrepresented them will there be sanctions taken against those responsible? If so will these be put into the public domain? Will those responsible be asked to pay the legal costs incurred by the broadcaster? If not will the public funding for such legal costs be investigated?

  • The anti Catholic mentality is now maturing and will fall on it’s own sword as history has repeatedy shown.

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