Northern Ireland

Dana knew of sex abuse allegations against her brother, a court hears

John Brown
Image caption John Brown denies five counts of indecent assault

Eurovision song contest winner Dana had "known all along" about child sex abuse allegations against her brother, a court has heard.

John Brown, 60, denies five counts of indecent assault against two girls under the ages of 13 and 16 at various locations and times in the 1970s.

An alleged victim told Harrow Crown Court that Dana Rosemary Scallon knew of the claims for more than 30 years.

She alleged the former singer and Irish MEP had said she would pray for her.

On the third day of the trial, the court heard that the witness claimed she was molested by Mr Brown, of Bracknell, Berkshire, when she was a child.

'Became aware'

She said Dana, now Dana Scallon, made the comments about praying for her as she tried to dampen publicity around the alleged scandal during her Irish presidential election campaign.

The court heard that after family members became aware of the allegations, Mr Brown sought help from a priest and had to "eat well, sleep well and watch for the signs" to control his sexual urges towards children.

While running for the presidency in Ireland in 2011, his sister, Dana, denied any knowledge of the allegations during a television interview with Irish channel TV3 and spoke by telephone to one of the alleged victims shortly before the allegations made national headlines in the country.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Harrow Crown Court heard allegations that Dana Rosemary Scallon knew of the claims about her brother

The alleged victim claimed Mr Brown, who was part of Dana's 2011 election campaign team, touched her inappropriately on four occasions both in the UK and United States in the 1970s and said she was furious that the allegations were being refuted by Dana.

'Pray'

Speaking about the phone call she had with Dana about October 2011, she said: "I was angry because she had known all along.

"I felt bad about it [the television interview]. Dana said she didn't recall anything of it, but I said 'yes you do, you're my spiritual guide and you always knew'.

"That pretty much ended the conversation. She just said she would pray for me."

The court also heard evidence from the mother of the alleged victim, who said she had confronted Mr Brown after being told about the abuse when her daughter was 10 or 11 years old during a visit by him to the United States.

'Cured'

She said Mr Brown denied it but she told him to leave.

The alleged victim's mother spoke on the phone to Dana, who said she would collect Mr Brown in the UK and organise some treatment for him, the court heard.

"She said when he got home she would meet him, talk with him and work with him from that side," the witness said.

"She mentioned she knew someone who could talk to him - it was my understanding it was a priest."

The alleged victim and her family claim they then did not hear from Mr Brown for more than two years, but eventually met him again after Dana claimed her brother had been "cured".

The mother told the court: "John and Dana told me that the person he was seeing had died, but that he was healed and God had forgiven him and it was time for me to as well."

The prosecution alleged that Mr Brown went on to reoffend at a further visit to the family when the girl was aged 13 or 14.

Earlier, it was put to the alleged victim that the case was a lie created to support her defamation proceedings against Dana over her television interview, in which the singer claimed the allegations were "vile and malicious lies".

A defence lawyer said: "I'm suggesting to you these allegations are not true and that the only reason you came to the police in this country is you have very little option to do otherwise as, because of all of this publicity, the defamation claim is never going to succeed in the absence of a criminal conviction in the UK."

The victim denied the suggestion, and said: "No. It seems like an awful lot of planning for something that is so hurtful."

The case continues.

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