Fermanagh abuse victim speaks out publicly

In previous blogs we have highlighted the work of the Fermanagh newspaper, The Impartial Reporter, and their coverage of abuse reports in that area and the creation of a new police taskforce to re-examine older complaints and to investigate more recent reports of historic abuse in the area.

BBC Spotlight has spoken to one of those who came to the paper and Kevin Brown has waived his anonymity to speak publicly about the abuse he reported.  Mr Brown says that he was abused by at least 20 different men when he was around 12 years old and for at least another three years after that.  Other victims have confirmed some of the names given by Mr Brown but those victims have retained their anonymity.

The Spotlight investigation has found connections between many of the men named and they, along with Mr Brown, raise the suspicion of a network of abusers in the area at the time.

Mr Brown waived his anonymity because he felt the need to speak out was essential to help him move on and that in doing so he was helping himself and other victims by bringing the matter to the fore.

One of the named abusers in the suspected network was a local school bus driver, David Sullivan, who disappeared from his home in 1998 and his body was found some 18 months later.

Police have confirmed that nine people have come forward with allegations about David Sullivan but the report suggests that the true number will be much higher than this.

As the police re-open files and their investigations continue the coverage will continue.  The difficulties for victims facing their past may be eased by the open reporting of these cases and the potential for more complaints grows.  Organisations who are linked to the potential abusers will need to ensure they have properly managed their document storage and should prepare for the potential impact any investigations will have on them as soon as possible.


Written by Fintan Canavan

Partner, BLM


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