RTE Denies Payout to Former Bishop Who Claimed the Station Labelled Him a Paedophile

By Aodhan O'faolain
Irish Mirror
July 2, 2015

Former Archbishop of Benin, Richard Burke pictured leaving the Four Courts

RTE has insisted it paid no damages to a former bishop who claimed the station labelled him a paedophile.

Richard Burke today settled his defamation case against RTE, which had heard he had underage sex with a Nigerian girl.

The former Archbishop of Benin, Nigeria, sued the State broadcaster over allegations he was defamed in Prime Time Investigates: A Mission To Prey in May 2011.

The churchman resigned in 2010 over his failure to remain celibate. Today, the court heard evidence from Dolores Atwood, who claimed she had been abused by Mr Burke in Nigeria when she was aged 13 or 14.

Mr Burke, 66, had told the court he had had consensual sex with Ms Atwood when she was 20.

In a statement read to the court, RTE’s lawyer Paul O’Higgins said the Mission To Prey programme alleged Mr Burke had sexual relations with Ms Atwood who was underage.

RTE denied defamation but accepted it incorrectly stated he had declined to be interviewed and for that the broadcaster apologised.

Mr O’Higgins said Ms Atwood stood over her allegations and RTE considered her a sincere and honourable person.

Speaking outside the court, Ms Atwood said: “I’m very pleased that RTE was able to believe me and stand by me.”

The State broadcaster insists it paid out no fee in the settlement but admitted “a contribution” was made to Mr Burke’s costs.

Robert Dore, solicitor for Mr Burke, said: “My client is a truthful person. This litigation has been compromised to my satisfaction and he has no exposure to costs.”








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