Dana’s sister Susan Stein has hired one of Northern Ireland’s top libel lawyers as the family row dominating the Irish Presidential election intensifies.
Stein has hired Paul Tweed, senior partner with the Johnsons Solicitors firm in Belfast, as she prepares to tackle Presidential candidate Dana over her statements claiming malicious and false accusations being made concerning sex abuse.
Speaking to the Irish Times newspaper, Stein confirmed that she stands over evidence presented to an Iowa court in 2008 when her husband Ronald claimed that Dana’s brother John Brown had admitted to him in 2005 that he had sexually abused the Steins’ daughter, Susan Gorrell, in the 1980s.
Brown is currently acting as campaign manager to Dana Rosemary Scallon in her unlikely bid to win the Irish presidential election.
The allegations of sex abuse against Brown by Stein are contained in the transcripts of the Iowa case between Dana and her sister’s family over ownership of a religious music business.
The court was told that the allegations first surfaced in 2005. Dana’s lawyer told the judge that Stein had allegedly known about the alleged abuse of her daughter for some years prior to 2005 but had continued to work with Brown, her brother.
The court was also told that Brown denied the allegation while giving evidence by way of deposition.
In a full statement to Tuesday’s edition of the Irish Times, Stein said she felt compelled to comment further on the case having listened to Dana’s comments last week.
“I am commenting in response to accusations made against her husband and her daughter in recent times,” Stein told the Irish Times.
“When my daughter first told me of the alleged abuse she was 10 or 11 years old and very ashamed, frightened and embarrassed and did not want her father to know.”
Stein said she immediately contacted her sister Dana, who spoke to her daughter and to her and was also of the view that it would be better if their mother and father were not told and that they would ‘protect the family name’ by not telling others.
“I was assured that my brother had received treatment and been cured and had asked God’s forgiveness. I was told I should forgive him also.”
Stein and her brother continued to work together at the Heart Beat business until her husband found out about the alleged abuse.
Ronald Stein told the Iowa Court case in 2008: “In January of 2005 John Brown called me at home and apologised for abusing my daughter for over a period of 12 years. He said he was sorry, he knew that God had forgiven him, and he would like to ask me for my forgiveness.
“I told him that this was a shock to me, I just learned this, and that - that I would have to think about it and then he asked well, what about Heart Beat, and I said you’re finished with Heart Beat, you will have nothing to do with Heart Beat, you will have nothing to do with my family.”
Dana was not confronted with the allegations during the court case but an email sent to her sister Susan in 2005 was read out by the judge.
Referring to Heart Beat, Dana wrote: “I know that the terrible manner in which John was forced from the company was nothing other than a business move to secure ownership. Is anything worth it?”
Just last week Dana said she was sure the allegations were untrue because no action had been taken at the time.