Priest in libel battle with RTE over rape allegation
Published 06/07/2011 | 05:00
A 65-YEAR-OLD former missionary priest has begun libel proceedings against RTE over allegations in a 'PrimeTime Investigates' programme that he raped an underage girl and fathered a daughter with her.
Fr Kevin Reynolds says he is prepared to undergo a paternity test to prove his innocence arising out of allegations in the programme entitled 'Mission to Prey', which, he claims, alleged he raped an underage girl when she was a maid in a house he frequented in Africa.
Yesterday, Fr Reynolds was given permission by the High Court to inform RTE that he will seek a court order later this week requiring the station to file a defence to the case.
Fr Reynolds has agreed to a request from his Mill Hill Missionaries Society superiors, together with the Bishop of Elphin, to step down from his ministry in the parish of Ahascragh, Co Galway, and leave his home there as a result of the "false accusations" levelled against him by RTE pending an investigation, according to court documents.
Mr Justice Sean Ryan granted permission to the priest's counsel, Frank Callanan, to bring the application to RTE within a short period of time after hearing five letters had been sent to RTE asking them to provide a defence within a certain time frame.
Despite the letters, RTE had not addressed the issue to date and Fr Reynold's legal team said it now wanted the case expedited.
Mr Callanan said an extremely serious libel of his client had been broadcast by RTE in which it was asserted he had raped a young girl in Africa, a child minder. He added that the programme had been advertised by RTE.
Fr Reynolds was a missionary in Africa from 1971 having been appointed to the Diocese of Kisumu in Kenya until January 2004.