Tuesday 17 September 2019

Former scout leader arrested over abuse allegation from 1980s

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Stock Picture

Ralph Riegel

Gardaí have arrested a man involved in scouting roles over the past 30 years in respect of a historic abuse allegation.

The man, who is in his late 60s, was arrested in the south and taken to a Garda station for questioning.

He was a well known figure within scouting circles over the past three decades having held a variety of positions at both troop and organisational level.

The individual is also well known in the Irish business community.

It is understood the allegations relate to claims of abuse dating back to the 1980s.

These were levelled by an individual who was a juvenile scout at the time.

The abuse claim also largely related to a specific scouting venue.

It is expected the man will be released without charge with a file to be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

He was active in scouting circles dating back to the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland (CBSI), the effective precursor to the current Scouting Ireland organisation.

The man is not understood to currently hold any position within Scouting Ireland, though he remains involved on the periphery of the scouting movement.

The investigation into the allegation substantially pre-dated the current controversy that has engulfed the youth organisation.

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone last week warned both her office and Scouting Ireland were "flooded" with inquiries following the publication of a review by child protection expert Ian Elliott of historic scouting records.

That review of abuse allegations within the scouting movement found indications of 71 alleged abusers, as well as 108 victims dating from the 1960s through to the 1980s. Some 14 of the alleged abusers had multiple victims.

Reports have been submitted, on the basis of the review findings, to both the Garda and Tusla.

Ms Zappone, who previously suspended funding for Scouting Ireland amid concerns over how it was handling the issue, said she had been assured that Scouting Ireland was committed to enforcing the highest possible level of child protection.

A representative from Tusla told the Irish Independent that they had received a small number of calls via their helpline.

"Tusla's dedicated retrospective team have been working with the callers," they added.

Irish Independent

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