Sunday 22 September 2019

Al Porter may face garda investigation after former patient makes complaint alleging sexual assault

St Patrick's Mental Health Services have responded to claims of inappropriate behaviour made against Al Porter
St Patrick's Mental Health Services have responded to claims of inappropriate behaviour made against Al Porter Newsdesk Newsdesk

Al Porter may face a garda investigation after a former patient of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services made a formal complaint about his conduct during a visit to the facility.

The man’s allegation, reported by a Sunday newspaper, refers to a visit by the comedian to the facility in October 2015.

The patient, a student in his mid 20s and who has since been discharged, has alleged Mr Porter kissed him and "put his hand on my crotch at least twice, outside my trousers”.

It's understood a number of other high profile visitors were in attendance for the same event, but none of them saw the alleged incident.

On Tuesday SPMHS confirmed that a complaint had been made to them.

It's understood the complaint is the same allegation that was published on Sunday.

Under current guidelines a psychiatric hospital is obliged in law to notify a “serious reportable incident” within 48 hours to the Mental Health Commission, the legal watchdog for mental health services.

It is also obliged to report a formal complaint about an alleged sexual assault to gardai.

When the claims were initially published on Sunday, St Patrick’s issued a statement to say that no allegations had been made to them by clients or staff about Al Porter.

The statement said the first the hospital heard about the allegations was in a newspaper and encouraged people to report any such allegations to the gardai and to the hospital.

This evening, the organisation issued a second statement saying they have received a complaint about Al Porter.

 “Since issuing that press release, SPMHS has received such a complaint.  The organisation is currently investigating the complaint in line with its policies and procedures,” a spokeswoman for the hospital said.

“There will not be any further press releases or statements by SPMHS regarding this matter until that investigation is complete.”

The hospital's policy regarding visiting and invited guests was introduced in January 2015 and was designed to "ensure that there is no risk to the safety and security of service users, visiting celebrities and invited guests and staff arising from visits to the service by approved or invited visitors”.

The policy states that:

“A member of the Communications Department/delegated staff member should remain with the approved invited guest at all times during their visit until he/she has left the SPMHS campus.

“It is imperative that approved invited guests are not left unaccompanied at any time especially when meeting with service users/visitors.”

Mr Porter is facing several allegations of inappropriate behaviour and sexual misconduct from a number of men.

Since the allegations were made on social media on Friday, the comedian has resigned from his lunchtime slot on Today FM and has stepped aside from his role in the Olympia Panto.

TV3 opted not to broadcast a planned repeat of the last episode of 'Blind Date' on Saturday evening.

While he has not responded to individual complaints, he has apologised for any distress he may have caused.

“I have been completely taken aback by reports in the media and on the social networks over the weekend, and by the scale and tone of the vitriol," he said in a statement issued on Sunday.

“While my conduct, which had been in keeping with my flamboyant and outrageous public persona may be regarded as offensive and unacceptable by many people, I at no time intended to upset anyone.

“Up until now, I had been unaware of these complaints or the impact of my conduct and I am truly sorry for any distress I may have caused in what I had regarded as light-hearted and good-natured circumstances.”

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