Nuns may sue Irish broadcaster over abuse claim on radio

The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity in Ireland is considering suing the state broadcaster RTE after a talk show host put to air an interview with a woman who claims to have been physically and sexually abused while in a laundry.

The Irish Independent reported yesterday that the order has confirmed that it has asked lawyers to examine the transcript of the interview with Vincent Browne as well as the contents of the book, 'Kathy's Story', on which the interview is based.

Meanwhile, it has forwarded a complaint about the interview to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission.

The move by the order is the latest in a series of disputes it has had with Ms Kathy O'Beirne (45) who says she was in the order's now closed Magdalene laundry at High Park, Dublin, from the age of 12 to 14.

Ms O'Beirne has said that while in the laundry, she was repeatedly raped and became pregnant. She claims she was also resident at a Magdalene laundry on Sean McDermott St.

In her book, Ms O'Beirne does not name any of the laundries in which she says she was incarcerated. However, on 'Tonight with Vincent Browne' on 22 June, she mentioned the laundry at High Park.

Ms O'Beirne says that in her book she did not name any of the four orders which ran the Magdalene laundries because she fears she might be sued. However, she claims she has already received settlements from two of the men she says sexually abused her, and that she has documentary evidence that she was a resident in a laundry.

A spokesperson for the order has confirmed to the Irish Independent that both the book and the transcript of the interview with Vincent Browne have been sent to their lawyers.

Ms O'Beirne also spoke of her abuse in an interview with Australian ABC Radio presenter Julie McCrossin, on Radio National's Life Matters program on 1 July. She said on the Australian program that she retains her Catholic faith to this day, and that it was her faith that helped her through the ordeal.

Nuns may sue RTE over sex abuse claim on radio show (Irish Independent 3/8/05)
Kathy's Story (ABC Radio National Life Matters 1/7/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Tonight with Vincent Browne (RTE Radio 1 22/6/05 - Google cache)
Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, Ireland (currently offline)
Kathy's Story: A Childhood Hell Inside the Magdalen Laundries (Amazon)
The sisters of no mercy (The Observer 16/2/03)

Cardinal expresses outrage at Venice Film Award (CathNews 10/9/02)

Abuse claimant tells of deprivation (stuff.co.nz.NZLawyer 4/8/05)
Archbishop Levada postpones testimony in sex-abuse case (Catholic World News 2/8/05)
Collapse halts sex-abuse case (NZ Herald 3/8/05)
Abuse claimant screams in court (stuff.co.nz 3/8/05)
Church in $550,000 abuse case (stuff.co.nz 31/7/05)
Call to halt 30-year-old sex charges (The Mercury 29/7/05)

4 Aug 2005