A foster father has launched a High Court challenge aimed at quashing a finding by Tusla that allegations of “sexual impropriety” made against him by a former foster daughter were “well founded”.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies the claims and says the findings against him are unreasonable, fundamentally flawed, and have caused great distress and upset.
At the High Court yesterday, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan heard that the allegations were made by a teenage girl to her social worker during the course of a car journey in mid-2014.
The social worker had been called after the girl threatened to self-harm following issues concerning access to her mother.
During the course of the conversation, the girl claimed she was sexually harassed by the man while she had been living with him and his family as a foster child some years previously.
Paul Gunning, counsel for the man, said the claim had never been “stress tested”.
The girl was not interviewed by Tusla and the finding was based on that one conversation, he said.
In 2015 Tusla informed the man, whom it interviewed, that the teen’s complaint was founded.
Mr Gunning said the findings were appealed, but that this was
flawed because his client was not given a proper and full appeal on the merits of the case.
Permission to bring the challenge against both Tusla and the two members of the independent appeal panel was granted on an ex parte basis. The case will come back before the court in May.
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