Authorities in the US last night ruled out a criminal investigation into allegations the brother of Irish 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 is 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.
Mrs Gorrell said her lawyer had discussed the complaint with US law officials with a view to her giving evidence against Mr Brown in an American criminal court. However, Lee County Sheriff Jim Scholl told her lawyers that the complaint could not be pursued in Iowa.
Speaking from her Donnellson, Iowa, home, Mrs Gorrell said: “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. 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.
Mrs Gorrell alleges that Dana knew of the abuse 30 years ago. Dana had claimed on Irish TV that the first she heard of the abuse allegations was during a civil court case in Iowa in 2008.
Asked why she is only filing a criminal complaint now, Mrs Gorrell insisted: “This is because the Press approached me and I was devastated by what she (Dana) said about me. What she said on national television in Ireland has created this issue and I am duty bound to clear my name and bring out the truth.
“I'm hurt, frustrated and angry... Dana put this in the public domain, not me.”
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 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 and it's not the first attempt to undermine my character in this campaign,” she said.
To claims that she knew about the alleged abuse for decades, she said: “They tried to implicate me and it's untrue. They are allegations. They were only made in the context of a family dispute court case.”
Dana, who appeared shaken when she arrived in Kilkenny over an hour late for a walk-about in the city, said the revelations have been “quite devastating” for her family.
“These allegations are simply allegations, they're unsubstantiated and they only first arose in a family dispute court case and I can only say that the allegations are untrue,” she said, before adding that the situation was “very tragic”.
Dana was repeatedly asked if her niece, Mrs Gorrell, was lying but she would only answer that her claims were “untrue”.