Australian Royal commission
reveals scale of child sexual abuse
in Anglican Church
More than 1,100 complaints of child sexual abuse were made against hundreds of Anglican church clergy and laypeople over 35 years, new data shows.
The child abuse royal commission released another tranche of data about Australia’s churches on Friday, this time revealing the scale of the abuse crisis within the Anglican church’s parishes, schools and youth groups.
The data shows that 1,115 complaints of child sexual abuse were received by the church between 1980 and the end of 2015, involving 22 of the 23 Anglican dioceses in Australia. Those complaints were made by 1,082 survivors against 569 named and 133 unnamed perpetrators.
The alleged abuse took place at the hands of 285 laypeople and 247 ordained clergy. The royal commission has referred 84 alleged perpetrators to police, four of whom have been prosecuted and 23 are still under investigation.
The general secretary of the church’s general synod, Anne Hywood, made a statement to the royal commission on Friday. She acknowledged the church had been more concerned with its own reputation than those who had been harmed, and had failed to act to protect children when it became aware of abuse.
“We have witnessed first hand the suffering of those who have shared their stories,” she said. “We have seen in their faces and heard in their voices not only the pain of the abuse they suffered as a child, but the further damage we inflicted when they came forward as adults, seeking justice and comfort, and we pushed them aside.
Hywood said the church was “prepared to confront” the challenges ahead. She repeated an unreserved apology to survivors.
“We apologise for the shameful way we actively worked against and discouraged those who came to us and reported abuse,” Hywood said. “We are ashamed to acknowledge that we only took notice when the survivors of abuse became a threat to us.”
But the royal commission has heard factionalism, in-fighting, and “tribal interests” are still undermining attempts at a unified response to child protection.
The structure of the church decentralises power. Dioceses are able to largely manage their own response to abuse and child protection, and factions within the dioceses complicate matters more.
The Newcastle bishop, Greg Thompson, resigned on Thursday, a day before he was due to give evidence to the royal commission, after trying for years to force reforms within the church. Thompson spoke of receiving threats and being ostracised by his own parishioners for his outspoken push for reform.
He told the royal commission on Friday that the church’s response was still being hampered by factionalism.
“You have relationships … where people are aligned to groups, to factions. So within a diocese, let alone across the country, there are factions and allegiances which cut across a common response, particularly when there are beliefs and attitudes that have not come to terms with history,” he said.
“Conflicts of interest that arise around friendships, where alleged clergy have offended, have been afforded a lot of protection at various levels, either at a committee level or in the local parish. People refuse to accept that their loved priest has been an offender.”
Previous hearings of the royal commission have heard damning evidence about the church’s handling of child sexual abuse. The church actively worked to discourage survivors from complaining and failed comprehensively in its handling of perpetrators.
The population of England and Wales is two and a half times the size of that of Australia
and the Anglican Church proportionately larger. If these figures are extrapolated it would mean that there are potentially 3,000 cases in the Church of England - Involving up to 2,500 abusers.
Australian, Anglican bishop Greg Thompson quits over abuse issues
Anglican Bishop of Newcastle Greg Thompson has resigned after three years of dealing with issues related to clerical abuse and cover ups.
An emotional Bishop Thompson last year told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse his efforts to expose a decades-old culture of abuse and cover-ups had led to a concerted push to get rid of him.
The bishop is himself an abuse survivor and said he was resigning to put his health and family first.
"The impact of leading the diocese at various levels and addressing that culture has had a personal impact on my health, and I think has been something that got me thinking about how long I could have done it for," Bishop Thompson said.
The bishop said he had worked hard to end a culture of not listening.
"I think the serious matters of the past, the crimes against children, the culture of not wanting to know and the culture of covering up are being addressed," he said.
"I believe I have turned over the ground and others will continue.
"There are very fine leaders in the Anglican church of Newcastle who will continue to run with the momentum for a healthy future."
One of the abuse survivors who had met regularly with Bishop Thompson was CKA.
CKA said Newcastle had lost a good man.
"I am quite sad that Bishop Greg is going. He has been a good strong advocate for people,"
"He stood shoulder to shoulder with us, an incredible man, a man of great strength, a man of great courage.
"He certainly listened. I have spoken personally with Bishop Greg on many, many occasions, and the compassion he has shown has been extraordinary, but he's paid a horrible price for it.
"It's an indication of what happens in the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle when you stand up to people. They just carve you up and cut you down."
CKA said he hoped Bishop Thompson's hard-fought legacy would live on.
"There's been some massive changes within the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle," CKA said.
"I hope it's sustainable. You know I guess we have just got to put our faith in those that come next that they will continue his work."
Sydney's Anglican Archbishop, Glenn Davies, said Bishop Thompson's work had changed the church for the better.
"Bishop Greg Thompson has been a stalwart in his advocacy for justice for survivors of abuse," he said.
"He's been a champion of seeking justice against the perpetrators and it's taken its toll on him."
The Archbishop said Bishop Thompson's successor would have a lot of work to do.
"The next bishop of Newcastle will have to be a healer," he said.
"One who can bring healing across a disaffected diocese in terms of the events of the last couple of years."
The election of a new bishop will be discussed at a special session of the Anglican synod in May. Bishop Thompson's resignation has saddened Leonie Sheedy, who heads the Care Leavers Australia Network. But she said she understood why he needed to go.
"I feel sad for him, but I understand his need to pull back," Ms Sheedy said.
"Everyone has a limit of how much they can be involved in the terrible crimes of children and the cover ups that have gone on.
"Thank you to Greg for the fight that he did and the changes that he brought in the Anglican Church and in Newcastle, and what a brave man he was when he spoke out about being sexually abused himself.
"Change needs to happen and so well done to Greg, but his successor needs to carry on his legacy."
True Extent of Child Abuse in the Catholic Church Revealed.
Recent statistics from the Australian Royal Commission into child sexual abuse
show the real extent of child abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia.
Similar statistics have also been found relating to abuse in Ireland and it is
MACSAS' belief that these shocking figures will also be born out across
the rest of the U.K.
The Salisians, specifically targeting young people, one of the worst offending
Seven per cent of Australia’s Catholic priests were accused of abusing children
in the six decades since 1950, according to new data from the Australian
The Australian royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse
has released damning statistics on the scale of the crisis within the Catholic Church.
The numbers confirm the extent of sexual predation already suggested by four years of
royal commission hearings involving the church, which are now entering their
Up to 15% of priests in some dioceses were alleged perpetrators between 1950 and
2015, with abusers most prevalent in the dioceses of Sale and Sandhurst in Victoria,
Port Pirie in South Australia, and Lismore and Wollongong in New South Wales.
The numbers were even worse in some national Catholic orders. By far the worst was
the order of the St John of God Brothers, where a staggering 40% of religious brothers
are believed to have abused children.
Twenty-two per cent of Christian Brothers and 20% of Marist Brothers, both orders that
run schools, were alleged perpetrators. More than one in five priests in the Benedictine
community of New Norcia were alleged perpetrators, while 17.2% of clergy were accused
of crimes against children in the Salesians of Don Bosco order.
In total, between 1980 and 2015, 4,444 people alleged incidents of child sexual abuse
relating to 93 Catholic Church authorities. The abuse allegedly took place in more than
1,000 institutions. The average age of victims was 10.5 for girls and 11.6 for boys.
The overwhelming majority of survivors were male. Almost 1,900 perpetrators were
identified and another 500 remained unidentified. Thirty-two per cent were religious
brothers, 30% were priests, 29% were lay people and 5% were religious sisters.
The royal commission said 37% of all private sessions it held with survivors from
all institutions related to abuse in the Catholic Church.
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Sex abuse bishop Peter Ball released from prison
A man allegedly abused as a child by a former bishop has criticised his early release
from jail as "a poor reflection on the criminal justice system".
Peter Ball, 84, was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 after admitting a string of
historical sex offences against 18 teenagers and young men.
The former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester was released from jail on Friday after
serving less than 16 months.
Phil Johnson said he had served "less than a month for each of the victims that he had admitted to - and there were many more!".
Ball was sentenced to 32 months for misconduct in public office and 15 months for indecent assaults, to run concurrently, after using "religion as a cloak" to carry out the abuse between the 1970s and 1990s.
Richard Scorer, a lawyer representing a number of Ball's victims, said his early release was "an affront to justice" and "a huge blow to his victims".
"This was a man whose appalling crimes represented a gross and systematic abuse of trust spanning decades," he said.
Mr Johnson, from Eastbourne, who was not one of the 18 people Ball admitted abusing, alleges that Ball inappropriately touched him as a 13-year-old boy.
He said the sentence handed down to him was "in no way proportionate to the crimes committed", and it seemed he had been freed "at the earliest opportunity".
A Church of England spokeswoman said Ball's offences were "a matter of deep shame
In February 2016, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby, commissioned
an independent review of the Ball case.
Mr Johnson said its publication was not likely "for several more months".
"I think it's utterly ridiculous that it's taken longer to write a report on what happened than
it has for Peter Ball to serve his jail sentence," he said.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said sex offenders were "robustly risk assessed and
subject to a strict set of conditions".
"If they fail to comply, they can be recalled to prison," he added.
Northern Ireland child abuse inquiry singles out police and church
Police were guilty of a “catalogue of failures” over the abuse of boys at a Belfast
care home run by a paedophile ring, a comprehensive report into child
mistreatment across Northern Ireland has found.
The historical institutional abuse inquiry, established in 2014, found that a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) investigation into sexual abuse at the Kincora care home in east Belfast was “inept, inadequate and far from thorough”.
The report, released on Friday, also accused the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland of ignoring repeated warnings about a serial paedophile, Fr Brendan Smyth, who sexually assaulted and raped dozens of young victims.
The implications of the Smyth scandal and other clerical abuse in the region were so serious that a senior Catholic cleric was due to discuss the findings with the pope later on Friday.
Kincora care home was run by a number of paedophiles whom it was alleged were agents of the state. They included the prominent Orange Order member William McGrath, who was accused of being an informer for MI5 and special branch in the 1970s, spying on fellow hardline loyalists.
At least 29 boys were sexually abused by McGrath, the Kincora housemaster, and others at the home. One boy is said to have killed himself by jumping off a ferry into the Irish Sea in the late 1970s following years of abuse. Three senior staff at Kincora – McGrath, Raymond Semple and Joseph Mains – were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys.
The retired judge Sir Anthony Hart, who chaired the inquiry, said if the RUC had carried out a proper investigation into Kincora many of the victims might have been spared. He said 39 boys were abused byMcGrath and others running Kincora at the height of the Troubles.
He stressed that all requests by the inquiry for classified files relating to Kincora were “honoured” by government and security agencies.
Hart said there was “no credible evidence” to support allegations that a paedophile ring including senior British establishment figures had abused children in Kincora. The report had “stripped away decades of half-truths masquerading as facts in relation to Kincora”.
The inquiry, which sat at Banbridge courthouse in County Down for two years, investigated children’s care homes and institutions from the Northern Ireland state’s foundation in 1922 to 1995.
During the Kincora section of the inquiry it emerged that MI5 and MI6 were legally represented at Banbridge. Critics of how the hearing into Kincora had been framed expressed concerns the government would use the Official Secrets Act to prevent the inquiry gaining access to files from MI5 and MI6.
Among the other scandals highlighted in the report was that surrounding Fr Brendan Smyth. He was a paedophile priest whom the Catholic hierarchy kept moving around parishes in both Ireland and the United States long after it knew about his abuse of children in places such as west Belfast.
The report severely criticised the Catholic Church’s behaviour.
“Father Brendan Smyth was able to carry out widespread sexual abuse of children, including some children resident in homes investigated by the inquiry, due to the failure of branches of the Roman Catholic church to properly address his behaviour from before he was ordained as a priest, despite clear warnings,” it said.
“There was repeated failure to assess the risk he posed to children, to confine him to his abbey, to thoroughly investigate allegations of abuse, to notify the police and social services, and to share information between dioceses and report matters to the appropriate civil and ecclesiastical authorities.”
The report also criticised an order of Catholic nuns, the Sisters of Nazareth. Of the homes they ran in Belfast and Derry, it said: “In each of the four homes, some nuns engaged in physical and emotional abuse against children. Emotional abuse was widespread in all homes.”
Hart and his team found that a disinfectant was used in baths in the orphanages. He said there was a significant number of cases of sexual abuse involving priests and lay staff. Many of these incidents were known to members of the clergy, who did nothing to stop them, the report said.
The leader of Ireland’s Catholics, archbishop Eamon Martin, said he would discuss its findings with Pope Francis when he met the pontiff in Rome later on Friday.
He said the report “reminds us that much work remains to be undertaken in this regard”.
Public hearings were held into 22 institutions across Northern Ireland which were run by the state, local authorities, the Catholic church, the Church of Ireland, and other voluntary organisations. Hart’s report runs to 2,300 pages and contains 10 volumes of findings and testimonies.
The NSPCC children’s charity said: “This inquiry has shed light on horrendous and widespread abuse carried out against children in Northern Ireland in the past. Institutions must now be held to account for the prolonged, systematic failings against the children in their care. It is right that the survivors receive the justice they deserve and we support the recommendation for redress.”
Former Oxted priest now facing
24 indecent assault charges
as trial date set
Two more victims have come forward with sex abuse allegations against a retired priest who is already facing a string of indecent assault charges, Guildford Crown Court was told on Friday December 16th.
It brings the number of complainants prepared to testify against the former Rector of Oxted, Guy Bennett, from 10 to 12, it was revealed.
Bennett, 83, of Lewes Road, East Grinstead, appeared to face a new indictment containing a total of 25 counts – 24 of indecent assault against complainants who were under the age of 16 at the time, and one of outraging public decency.
When the defendant appeared at Redhill Magistrates' Court last year, he faced 22 charges of indecent assault and one of outraging public decency between 1977 and 1998.
Eloise Marshall, prosecuting, said the allegations made by the two new complainants stemmed from incidents said to have happened in the late 1980s.
Bennett, who was Rector of Oxted from 1972 to 1998, entered no pleas at today's hearing. He was remanded on bail until March 17, 2017 for a plea and trial preparation hearing.
Paul Walker, defending, said a medical report would be presented to the crown court on his client's fitness to plead.
"He is physically fit," he said. But Mr Walker said it was vital to carry out tests on his client's memory.
"It's important to have this medical report," he said.
Judge Jonathan Black asked: "Is he saying this number of complainants are wrong?"
Mr Walker said there might be a mixture of "misunderstandings, confusions and fabrication".
The court was told that a date for a trial, lasting nearly three weeks, has been set aside for September 11, 2017.
Granting Bennett bail, Judge Black ordered that he must have no contact with prosecution witnesses or be in the company of anyone under the age of 18 in the meantime.
The defendant was chaplain to the London Palladium from 1972 to 1998 which earned him the title "chaplain to the stars".
He has written a book about the celebrities he has known. He was also a friend of Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed who lived in the Oxted area while Bennett was rector there.
"We apologise unreservedly ...
for the hurt and distress caused
The Rt Rev James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, apologised for the hurt and distress caused to the women after the release of the original Kendall House report, and did so
again for the extension.
He said his Diocese would undergo an independent audit of its safeguarding structures
and resources as a result of the Kendall House review.
“We are very grateful to all of the women who courageously came forward to tell their
stories, and we recognise how challenging that was,” he said.
“The Diocese would like to thank all of the former residents who have participated and
we apologise unreservedly to them for the hurt and distress caused to them.”
The Rt Rev Trevor Willmott also issued a statement and described the findings of the extension as "difficult but essential reading".
He added: “Bishop James and I are hugely grateful to the women who have come
forward – both for the original report and the addendum – for their courage in sharing
“They have done this so that we may learn the lessons of the past and we want to
assure them that we have fully resolved to do so. I would like to echo Bishop James’
apology to them for the pain they have suffered."
One of the four former residents to contribute to this week’s report was Teresa Cooper,
who has spent the last three decades fighting for a full investigation into Kendall
House. Ms Cooper did not take part in the original review due to a dispute over the
terms of reference, but the panel felt she should be included in the extension.
The panel acknowledge that many of the complaints made about Kendall House
in the years since its closure were made by Ms Cooper.
Their report reads: “Teresa has worked relentlessly to try to make the church
understand, accept and act in response to her concerns about the abusive practices
at Kendall House.
“Through lobbying, researching, and detailed analysis, she has supported many
other former residents to seek affirmation of their experiences, as well as working
on her own process of recovery.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Teresa Cooper for all her efforts,
and her struggles in seeking the truth about Kendall House.
“In respect of this review, we are most grateful for her contribution, in her interview
and her emails, and to all who participated, for showing such courage in speaking
You can read the report by clicking HERE
IICSA publishes first anonymised summaries from the Truth Project
The 45 accounts, which have been anonymised, provide a first indication of the
abuse suffered by children who were abused and/or let down by those in authority
who should have protected them.
The Inquiry aims to publish as many anonymised summaries as possible and will use
the information to better understand the scale, scope and nature of child sexual abuse.
Panel member Dru Sharpling, who leads the Inquiry’s work on the Truth Project, said:
“I have personally facilitated some of the Truth Project private sessions, so I have
heard some of these experiences first hand. This first summary of personal experiences serves as a powerful reminder of the devastating consequences of child sexual abuse.
“Reading these accounts will be difficult for many people, but nowhere near as difficult
as it is for the victims and survivors who have come forward to help the Inquiry by
sharing their experiences. I want to thank them and reassure them that their bravery
will help us to identify how we can better protect children in the future from such abuse
Around 500 victims and survivors have expressed an interest in attending a Truth
Project private session; to date nearly to 150 people will have shared their experiences
with us in a private session. Victims and survivors can also share their experiences in
writing and we will publish these anonymous experiences in due course, with the permission of those who took part.
IICSA says that The Truth Project provides a safe environment in which victims and survivors of child sexual abuse can share their experiences with a trained facilitator
who will listen to them, not challenge them, and not judge them. For some it may be
the first time they have spoken to anyone about their abuse. The Inquiry will provide
support before, during and after people share their experiences.
It is noteworthy that 13 out of the 45 (29%) published accounts had a religious
context, where abuse was committed bt clergy, church staff or in church schools.