Defamed Missionary priest Fr Kevin Reynolds has forgiven the mother and daughter who fed RTE the line that he had abandoned them.
Now based in a Galway parish, Fr Reynolds has told the Irish Independent that he has been contacted by the girl he was wrongly alleged to have fathered.
He also revealed that his ‘daughter’ had informed his missionary order that he was not her father after the Irish state broadcaster RTE aired the libellous Prime Time Investigates programme in May.
Fr Reynolds, who has received a sum believed to be $1.5million in settlement of his libel action from RTE, told the Independent that he ‘absolutely and completely’ forgives the Kenyan mother who falsely accused him of rape and fathering her daughter.
He has also made his peace with the women’s daughter who had initially claimed that he had abandoned her, one of the bedrocks of the RTE progamme ‘Mission to Prey’.
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“I have absolutely and completely forgiven them both,” said Fr Reynolds, a missionary in Kenya for 33 years following his ordination in 1971.
The 65-year-old priest also told the paper that the daughter wrote a letter to his Mill Hill Order in Nairobi admitting Fr Reynolds was not her biological father after the show was broadcast.
“She was misled, wrongly advised, she was influenced wrongly,” said Fr Reynolds. “She apologised in a letter and I accept that. God love her, I don’t know why she did that. I forgive her completely and wish her well in life. I forgive both of them, of course.
“I have no anger or resentments. Any feelings of revenge, that is simply not me. I don’t want people to lose their jobs or heads to roll or to be victimised.”
RTE have since placed four of those responsible for the Prime Time programme on ‘gardening leave’ pending the results of three separate investigation into the libel, one of them ordered by the Irish government.
Fr Reynolds is to consult his solicitor Robert Dore next week with his legal team anxious to examine the station’s responsibility regards naming his accuser.
“We haven’t discussed that at all, but I might see him next week. He hasn’t asked me personally or directly. I’ll still leave it all to him - the legal process, the investigations and whatever,” stated Fr Reynolds.
“I have nothing to do with the investigations or the government or whoever. As far as I am concerned, my main wish was to be clearly vindicated by the High Court.
“It is a huge distraction from my life and work. I just want to go back to normal life and enjoy the parish here.”
RTE staff were addressed on the crisis by station boss Noel Curran on Thursday night with Fr Reynolds adamant that those responsible for his libel must be held accountable.
“I expect justice to be done in RTE,” he said. “I’m the Parish Priest of Ahascragh. If something goes wrong in the church or whatever, I have to take full responsibility.
“The same goes for people in the positions of authority - they get well paid for it. It is a prestigious position. It just can’t go away. Justice has to be done and seen to be done.”