Family call on authority to vet RTÉ abuse claim

 

THE FAMILY of a deceased Christian Brother have called on the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) to include his case in their inquiry into the RTÉ Prime Time Investigatesprogramme which libelled Fr Kevin Reynolds.

Relatives of Br Ger (GG) Dillon have described allegations made against him in the programme as “wiping out a mans entire life work in three minutes of television”.

Their calls have been backed by Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan who said there was a potential for a “horrific injustice” in the allegations made against Br Dillon.

The issue has also been raised in the Seanad by Fine Gael Senator Michael Mullins.

The programme alleged that Br Dillon sexually abused a student while teaching in a Christian Brothers’ school in South Africa.

The allegation dates back to 1981, according to Br Dillon’s relatives. Br Dillon died in South Africa in 2005, aged 85.

The programme featured a past-pupil called Tyrone Selman who alleged Br Dillon had made inappropriate sexual advances towards him when he was a 12-year-old at the CBS Pretoria boarding school.

Reporter Aoife Kavanagh said the allegations were the first time Mr Selman had reported the abuse and the first time he had spoken about it.

Last night RTÉ said it was defending its story and can produce other alleged victims “now living in other countries who have, independently of each other and voluntarily, made allegations of suffering abuse by Br Dillon in similar circumstances to those described in the programme.

“The accounts given by these now-adult ex-pupils have in turn been corroborated by others.”

The claim has angered Br Dillon’s family in Ireland.

They say no allegation was ever made against him during his 60 years working as a teacher in South Africa.

Last night his grand-niece Amanda Dillon challenged RTÉ to produce the evidence of other witnesses to corroborate the programme’s claim that Br Dillon was a paedophile.

“If the media can put anybody on screen and we have to believe that it is true, that is a kind of anarchy,” she said.

“We want to know where did they find this man who has never, ever made this claim public before. Where is the evidence from these other people and why are they not prepared to go on the record?

“They cannot hide behind a claim of confidentiality.”

The Dillon family also wrote to the Irish Catholicnewspaper saying it was a “considerable advantage” to RTÉ to broadcast an allegation against a person who could not defend themselves.

They pointed out that RTÉ had already admitted that claims that Fr Reynolds had raped a minor and had a child by her were false.

They maintained the allegations against their relative were similarly “incorrect, unsubstantiated and profoundly prejudiced”.

Christian Brothers spokesman Br Edmund Garvey said he had only been made aware of the allegation on the Friday evening before the programme was broadcast, on a Monday, and had spent that weekend trying to contact other Brothers and the family of the deceased man to tell them that the allegation was going to be aired.

Br Garvey said there was nothing in the Christian Brothers’ files about any allegations of abuse, and said he had also inquired from people who had known Br Dillon.

Br Garvey also stated Mr Selman had stood by his allegation when he was approached by the Christian Brothers authorities about the allegation.

“That’s where that sits at the moment,” he said.

RTÉ said it communicated the details of its specific research into the matter concerning Br Dillon to the Christian Brothers in Ireland at the “most senior level”.