Monday 18 December 2017

US laws prevent an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse

Greg Harkin and Eimear Ni Bhraonain

AUTHORITIES in the US last night ruled out a criminal investigation into allegations the brother of presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon sexually abused his niece.

Susan Gorrell (45) said she was "devastated" after being told she could not file a complaint to the Lee County Sheriff in Iowa because she was 10 months outside statute of limitation laws.

However, she vowed to travel to England next week to ask police there to investigate the alleged sexual abuse by John Brown more than 30 years ago.

Two of the alleged incidents of abuse took place in England.

Ms Gorrell said her lawyer had discussed the complaint with law enforcement officials in the US with a view to her giving evidence against Mr Brown in a criminal court. However, Lee County Sheriff Jim Scholl told her lawyers the complaint could not be pursued in Iowa.

"I had been told that in normal circumstances the offences John Brown committed against me would be outside the statute of limitations, unless I had been to counselling in the past few years and I have been," said Mrs Gorrell, speaking from her home in Donnellson, Iowa.

"I had obtained those medical records today for the county sheriff but unfortunately I am still 10 months outside the statute of limitations. So I am looking at the possibility of a civil case in the USA and looking at a criminal complaint in England.


"As a victim it's important for me now to take this to a conclusion and get some justice for my family and I. I am appalled that my aunt (Dana) is still refusing to admit that I told her about what happened to me 32 years ago," she said.

The latest revelations come as Dana struggles to keep her presidential campaign on track.

Ms Gorrell also told the Irish Independent last night that she had hired Belfast-based media lawyer Paul Tweed to examine the contents of Dana's TV3 interview in which she said the first she heard of the abuse allegations was during a civil court case in Iowa in 2008.

Ms Gorrell alleges that Dana knew of the abuse 30 years ago.

The film industry executive stated that she didn't press charges against her uncle because her grandmother was still alive and her aunt was a public figure. She has alleged that Mr Brown abused her on a number of occasions between the ages of five and 13. Mr Brown strenuously denies the allegations.

Speaking to the Irish Independent during a campaign visit to Kilkenny yesterday, Dana questioned the time delay in the allegations being made.

"My mother died two years ago so there was a two-year period where any action could have been taken. It's very convenient that it's now at an optimum time for publicity," she said.

In response to claims that she knew about the alleged abuse for decades, Dana said: "They tried to implicate me and it's untrue."

Dana was repeatedly asked if Ms Gorrell was lying but she would only answer that her claims were "untrue".

Irish Independent

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