Tag Archives: Australia

August 15 2017 – “Charges for priests who don’t report child abuse?”


Australia: Charges For Priests Who Don’t Report Child Abuse?

Tuesday 15TH
posted by Morning Star in World

PRIESTS who fail to tell police about suspected child sexual abuse, even if discovered during religious confession, should face criminal charges, Australia’s most powerful investigative authority recommended yesterday.

The royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse recommended national legislation to make it a criminal offence for people to fail to report child sexual abuse in an institutional setting.

Clergy who find out about sexual abuse during a religious confession would not be exempt from the law.

“The right to practise one’s religious beliefs must accommodate civil society’s obligation to provide for the safety of all and, in particular, children’s safety from sexual abuse,” the commission declared.

“Institutions directed to caring for and providing services for children, including religious institutions, must provide an environment where children are safe from sexual abuse.

“Reporting information relevant to child sexual abuse to the police is critical to ensuring the safety of children.”

“Australia’s Cathedral Deans call for prevention of further abuse after Royal Commission” – Christian Today – August 9 2016



The deans of Australia’s cathedrals have collectively expressed their regret at the damage caused by clergy and other church officials after hearing reports at their annual conference about the country’s Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.


“Australian bishop exposes cover-up of serial abuse” – Church Times – July 29 2016


Australian bishop exposes cover-up of serial abuse

by Muriel Porter, Australia Correspondent

Posted: 29 Jul 2016 @ 12:04


Click to enlarge

Ongoing inquiry: the Commission hears evidence at a hearing in Sydney, in February


THE Bishop of Newcastle, New South Wales, the Rt Revd Greg Thompson, has publicly condemned his diocese’s previous handling of sexual-abuse cases, accusing former diocesan personnel of removing documents and covering up serial offending.

Speaking on a current-affairs programme on national television, Bishop Thompson said that “this is what ‘mates looking after mates’ looks like in the Church at times. And that is an appalling thing to say for a Christian person.”

He was joined by two senior diocesan officials on the programme, where they were described as whistleblowers. Both the diocese’s business manager and the director of professional standards said that death threats and vandalism had accompanied their exposure of the earlier cover-up of a paedophile ring involving clergy and lay people.

Bishop Thompson, who became Bishop of Newcastle in 2014, said that he was being criticised “because I am opening the cupboards and we’re finding the skeletons”. He also suggested that some Australian bishops were still part of the “old culture”, and were refusing to accept that it needed to be addressed.

The television programme has also suggested that a former Bishop of Newcastle in the 1970s, the late Ian Shevill, was himself an abuser, and that former bishops failed to take action against abusing clergy: Bishop Alfred Holland, who was Bishop of Newcastle from 1978 until his retirement in 1992; and his successor, the Most Revd Roger Herft, who is now the Archbishop of Perth. The diocese’s now closed theological college, St John’s, at Morpeth, has been named as the place where the abusive clergy were trained.

The Australian Primate, Archbishop Philip Freier of Melbourne, has issued a statement calling the allegations “shocking and distressing”. He has welcomed the “very complete examination” that the allegations will have at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse RCIRCSA) public hearing into the diocese of Newcastle next month.

He has also expressed “solidarity” with Bishop Thompson and his officers, “who have worked diligently to end the culture of abuse and silence within the diocese”.

Bishop Thompson is himself a survivor of sexual abuse in his diocese. He told the programme that he had been groomed and abused by Bishop Shevill when, as a young man, he was seeking selection for ordination in the ’70s. This meant that he was in a vulnerable position, he said.

“The offending affected me significantly, and it still does. It affects the way I see myself. But it’s also galvanised me not to turn a blind eye to these matters.”