Move to expand Government abuse inquiry to include religious institutions welcomed

The inclusion of religious institutions into a state abuse inquiry has been welcomed by those who work with male survivors of sexual abuse.

A Royal Commission into the historical abuse of children in state care, from 1950-1999, has been in a preliminary process since February. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Children’s Minister Tracey Martin announced on Monday that Cabinet had agreed to expand the commission’s remit to investigate abuse in church institutions after months of resistance.

Male Survivors Aotearoa chairman Phillip Chapman was one of those who made an submission that the inquiry be widened to include other organisations like churches, schools and sports clubs. While it could have gone further, he said the inclusion of churches and faith-based organisations was “good news”.

But he did hold concerns about how the inquiry would be managed, as there were few support services for male survivors.

Published in Stuff

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Abuse inquiry change will help Māori voices – Murray Heasley

A spokesperson for survivors of abuse in faith-based institutions says extending the inquiry scope will strengthen voices not diminish them. Some Māori abused in state care say they will be silenced in the government inquiry now it’s including abuse by the churches. Survivors say expanding the inquiry will water it down, and those abused by the state should be dealt with on their own. Doctor Murray Heasley of Ngāti Raukawa, is the spokesperson for a network of survivors of abuse in faith based institutions.

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Published in Radio New Zealand
14 November 2018

Bishop considering public ‘full disclosure’

The Catholic bishop of Dunedin says he may not wait for a royal commission before lifting the lid on the sexual abuse of children by men of the cloth within the diocese.

Bishop Michael Dooley told ODT Insight he was considering a public “full disclosure” based on diocesan records of complaints alleging clergy abuse of children.

That would include naming alleged offenders and revealing the numbers of victims involved and payouts made within the Dunedin diocese, where complaints were deemed “credible” and church records existed.

Published in Otago Daily Times

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Apology needed for people abused in state and church care: sex abuse survivors support group

An apology is needed for people who have been abused in state and church care, according to a group that supports survivors of sexual abuse.

Leo McIntyre, spokesman for The Road Forward Trust, which offers peer support to male survivors of sexual abuse, welcomed the Government’s decision to expand the terms of reference of an inquiry into the abuse of children in state care to include faith-based organisations.

That includes religious schools such as Catholic schools and communities such as the Gloriavale Christian community on the West Coast. Under the Inquiries Act they could be compelled to appear at hearings.

“I think this will be of benefit to people who thought they were going to be excluded previously,” McIntyre told the Herald.

Published in New Zealand Herald

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Ribbons tied to Wellington church by child sexual abuse survivors removed

Ribbons put on a Wellington church by child sexual abuse survivors and their supporters have been promptly taken down by the parish priest.

The ribbons were tied to the fence of the St Mary of the Angels Catholic church in Boulcott St on Thursday, but by Friday morning, they had been removed.

They were put up to acknowledge historic sexual abuse of children in the Wellington Diocese, particularly at St Patrick’s College in Silverstream and Wellington City, and St Bernard’s College in Lower Hutt.

Published in Stuff

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Removed ribbons to be reinstated after outcry

A Wellington priest has backed down and agreed to allow ribbons from the survivors of sexual abuse to adorn a church in the capital.

Fr Kevin Conroy, the Marist Fathers parish priest at St Mary of the Angels in Wellington, caused outrage this morning when he cut off ribbons left on the church gates by survivors of clerical sexual abuse.

About 50 ribbons, signed by victims and their supporters, had been tied to church gates on Thursday, but cut down early this morning by Fr Conroy.

Published in Otago Daily Times

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Priests gather for training seminar

Priests from across Otago and Southland gathered in Dunedin yesterday as part of a push to upskill clergy in response to a sexual abuse crisis engulfing the Catholic Church.

About 30 priests from across the Dunedin Diocese – which spans the lower third of the South Island – attended an all-day seminar at the Holy Cross Centre in Mosgiel.

Speakers included Virginia Noonan, director of the Catholic Church in New Zealand’s National Office of Professional Standards, which handles sexual abuse complaints involving clergy.

Published in Otago Daily Times

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Over 30 years, young victims suffered the calculated sexual abuse of ‘Mister’ Alosio Taimo

Here sits a boy. He is slumped in a low, blue chair with his gangly limbs folded at an awkward angle.

He wears his school uniform, one of his socks slouched, and a permanent furrow in his brow.

Amid the sterile surrounds of the interview room at the Counties Manukau Police Station, he tells the specialist child interviewer questioning him he feels “weird and uncomfortable” talking about the things the man he refers to as “Mister” did to him.

Published in Stuff

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Raped, beaten and drugged: Victims of state school abuse receive less than $11,000

Peter Whall still has nightmares about waking up at his Otago boarding school, a hand clamped over his mouth.

As a young teen, he explained to his housemaster how an older boy climbed into his bed every other night. He had seen the man’s two “beautiful” daughters at church and thought he might care.

But he was wrong. The abuse continued for six years.

Published in Stuff

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Priest’s sexual abuse at Upper Hutt school admitted: It’s ‘criminal’

The Marist Fathers has admitted a priest who led one of its top secondary schools sexually abused children.

But decades on they will not release the file on Francis Durning, rector of St Patrick’s College in Silverstream, Upper Hutt, in the 1950s.

He was publicly remembered in Catholic obituaries as a man of “profound integrity” but a victim said other clergy nicknamed him “Fred the Fiddler” for his habit of abusing boys.

Published in Radio New Zealand

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