On the evening of the 23rd May 2011, RTÉ broadcast a Prime Time Investigates programme entitled “A Mission to Prey”.
Before this broadcast Prime Time conducted an interview with Fr. Kevin Reynolds, the then parish priest at Ahascragh in Galway.
This interview took place beside the parochial house after the annual First Holy Communion Mass.
During this interview allegations were made against Fr. Reynolds. He immediately protested his innocence and denied all the allegations.
Between the interview and the broadcast, Fr. Kevin Reynolds, through his Solicitors, repeated his protestations of innocence, asked RTÉ not to broadcast the interview and volunteered to
undergo a paternity test.
Prime Time duly broadcast the programme accusing Fr. Reynolds of raping a minor named Veneranda while he was a missionary in Kenya and fathering a child named Sheila as a result of this rape.
He was also accused of secretly providing funds to Sheila.
Both Veneranda and Sheila were interviewed in the programme to corroborate the allegations.
As a result Fr. Kevin Reynolds was obliged to stand down from ministry and was removed as the parish priest of Ahascragh. He had to leave his home and his parish.
He was compelled by the actions of RTÉ to institute High Court defamation proceedings to vindicate his good name and reputation.
RTÉ acknowledges that the material in the programme concerning Fr. Reynolds ought never to have been broadcast.
RTÉ now fully and unreservedly accepts that the allegations made by Prime Time against Fr. Kevin Reynolds are baseless, without any foundation whatever and untrue and that Fr. Reynolds is a priest of the utmost integrity who has had an unblemished 40 year career in the priesthood and who has made a valuable contribution to society in Kenya and Ireland both in education and in ministry.
RTÉ acknowledges the defamation has had a devastating effect on Fr. Kevin Reynolds, his family, his peers, his parishioners in Ahascragh, those in the diocese of Kakamega in Kenya who were aware of the allegations and all those who know him or of him.
RTÉ fully and unreservedly apologises to Fr. Kevin Reynolds for this defamation and deeply regrets the serious consequences suffered by him. He was entirely innocent of the allegations
broadcast about him.