Kenyan Bishop to sue RTÉThursday, May 17th, 2012
A Catholic Bishop based in Kenya has become the latest Catholic cleric to take issue with RTÉ's infamous Mission to Prey programme, which was broadcast in May 2011.
As a result of that programme Galway priest Fr Kevin Reynolds successfully sued RTÉ for libel after the programme alleged that he fathered a child with an underage girl from Kenya.
Later the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) launched an investigation into the programme and RTÉ was fined over €200,000 and, among other changes at the station, reporter Aoife Kavanagh resigned. However, it has now emerged that Kenyan Bishop Philip Sulumeti has lodged papers with the High Court.
It is believed that the Bishop is seeking damages from the state broadcaster as a result of his inclusion and portrayal in the programme. According to the Irish Independent, it is understood that he will argue that his good name was damaged by including his reference supporting Fr Kevin Reynolds character alongside statements of Fr Reynolds' supposed guilt.
Dr Sulumeti who is Bishop of Kakamega, which is about 400km from the Kenyan capital Nairobi, became involved in the programme after Fr Reynolds provided a reference that the Bishop had given him in 2003 as the end of his time working in Kenya.
He said that the now County Galway based parish priest was, “above suspicion.”
Bishop Sulumeti said in a statement, “Fr Kevin has never been involved in any kind of abuse, controversy whatsoever. His relationships with young people and those of the opposite sex are proper, respectful and above suspicion.”
However, the BAI noted that this was summarised by producer Brian Pairceir as, “most peculiar. It says Fr Reynolds is not a sexual predator.”
Part of this statement was used in the programme and it is believed that it is on these grounds that Bishop Sulumeti will launch his case.
by Sean Ryan