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Weekly’s child sex abuse investigation leads to first prosecution

A first prosecution is to be brought as a result of a weekly newspaper’s investigation into historical child sexual abuse, it has been revealed.

The Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland has decided to prosecute one person in connection with abuse allegations in County Fermanagh, which follows a long-running investigation by the Impartial Reporter.

The Enniskillen-based title’s investigation unearthed 70 victims of child sexual abuse perpetrated by scores of alleged abusers, leading to former deputy editor Rodney Edwards winning Weekly Newspaper Reporter of the Year at the Regional Press Awards last year.

The latest development in the case has been revealed by Rodney, who left the Reporter to join Dublin’s Sunday Independent in September.

The Reporter splashed on the development last week

The Reporter splashed on the development last week

Both the accused and the alleged victims were notified about the development by the PPS last month by specialist detectives working on the case, according to the Independent.

It is believed the Police Service of Northern Ireland will soon pass other investigation files to the PPS and decisions will then be taken on whether to prosecute others, but a force spokesman told the Independent: “It is not appropriate for us to comment further at this stage.”

To date, more than a dozen people have been arrested in connection with allegations.

Mark Conway, editor of the Reporter, told HTFP: “Hopefully this is a significant development in the investigation.

“The Impartial Reporter gave these alleged victims a voice and ultimately they deserve justice.

“This is a step in that process and we welcome that.”

HTFP has also approached Rodney for a comment.