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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Call for Catholic Church to release file it has on priest who sexually abused boys

A Christchurch man wants the Catholic Church to release information he says it has about a priest who sexually abused him as a 12-year-old.

George Russell said he was an alter boy in Temuka when he was abused by Father Cornelius O’Brien in 1972.

He has avoided churches ever since.

Russell said he knows the Catholic Church has a dossier on O’Brien, who has since returned to the UK and died.

Published in Stuff

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Canterbury Catholic diocese accused of enabling abusive priest

Two Canterbury men are accusing the Catholic church of enabling a priest to carry out a string of child sex attacks across the South Island. Documents show the church knew Father Cornelius O’Brien had attacked boys as young as four when, in 2007, it thanked him publicly for his service.

Listen to the news story

By the Morning Report
Published by Radio New Zealand
17 September 2018

‘The Church should open up their books’ – abuse survivor

Documents show the Catholic church publicly thanked a priest for his service, despite knowing he was a serial predator of young boys. A church investigator’s report from 2017 says Father Cornelius O’Brien committed a litany of offending in various parishes in Canterbury in the 1960s and 1970s. One of his victims is Christchurch chef George Russell, who is demanding the church open its books on the priest, so his other victims can seek help. O’Brien, who died in 2012, was convicted of indecency with a boy in Christchurch in 1976. In 2007, a church newsletter included O’Brien’s name in a list of priests it said had “gloriously blessed” the diocese by leaving their ‘native lands’ to serve in New Zealand. George Russell told RNZ reporter Phil Pennington in 1972 when he was 12 he was forced to perform a sexual act on O’Brien in the presbytery.

Listen to the news story

By the Morning Report
Published by Radio New Zealand
17 September 2018

Priest carried out ‘litany of offending against young boys’ – report

Two Canterbury men are accusing the Catholic church of enabling a priest to carry out a string of child sex attacks in multiple South Island parishes.

Documents show the church knew Father Cornelius O’Brien was a serial predator when, in 2007, it thanked him publicly for his service. See ‘Priests from Ireland’ on page eight of the Catholic Bishop of Christchurch’s June 2007 newsletter Inform.

Published by Radio New Zealand

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