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Saturday 25 January 2020

Concern at leak of Scout rape report

Ian Elliott: child safety expert expressed his frustration
Ian Elliott: child safety expert expressed his frustration
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Child safeguarding expert Ian Elliott has expressed his frustration that a report he prepared for Scouting Ireland over its handling of a rape allegation became public.

Mr Elliott yesterday told the Irish Independent he was not sure he could work with the youth organisation again following the leak.

"It's created a very difficult situation for me. I'm standing back and deciding what I'm going to do next," he said.

He has also written to Scouting Ireland, setting out his disquiet at what happened.

Concerns have been raised about Scouting Ireland's handling of a complaint of rape in 2016 against one of its senior officials. A female scout leader had claimed she was raped seven years previously.

The alleged male offender was suspended during the investigation and was reinstated last year after the Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to proceed with the case.

State funding of nearly €1m a year is to be withheld until concerns surrounding governance issues are resolved.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has backed Children's Minister Katherine Zappone's decision to withhold the funding.

But Mr Elliott has told the organisation he feels he can no longer communicate openly with it due to the leak.

It was his understanding that the work he was carrying out was being done in the context of strict confidentiality.

Over the weekend chief scout Christy McCann was re-elected head of Scouting Ireland.

The vote happened on Saturday at the annual conference of the organisation at The Helix, Dublin City University. He had run unopposed for the position.

An internal group set up in response to Mr Elliott's report had suggested he step aside, but he did not do so.

In Mr Elliott's report, he said Mr McCann held a meeting in January 2017 with the leader accused of rape while that person was under suspension.

He said this showed a blatant disregard for safeguarding policies.

Irish Independent

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