Greater transparency wanted over agreement

A support group for survivors of sexual abuse by priests wants more transparency over an agreement struck with the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin.

But the call by Dr Christopher Longhurst, representing the New Zealand branch of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap), has also triggered an acrimonious exchange with another support group.

Published in Otago Daily Times

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Man continues fights against church

A Melbourne man is fighting to hold the Catholic church accountable for three clerics and a teacher who sexually violated him as a boy in Otago. Marc – RNZ won’t use his surname – has come back to New Zealand to give evidence and to beg the Royal Commission to weigh in on his second bid for some kind of justice. Phil Pennington reports.

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By Morning Report
Published in Radio New Zealand
11 October 2019

Catholic bishop of Palmerston North Charles Drennan expected to resign

The Catholic bishop of Palmerston North is expected to resign after less than eight years in the job.

Stuff understands Pope Francis has been asked, or will be asked on Friday, to accept 59-year-old Bishop Charles Drennan’s​ resignation. The reasons for the resignation are not known.

Drennan has been the only bishop on the support group known as Te Rōpū Tautoko, which was set up to manage co-operation between the Catholic Church and the Abuse in Care Royal Commission.

Published in Stuff

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Confidentiality clauses: Bishops ‘lack moral leadership’

New Zealand’s Catholic bishops have been accused of lacking moral leadership as church groups decide whether to waive confidentiality clauses in compensation agreements reached with abuse survivors.

Survivor advocates say bishops’ silence on the issue, as the Royal Commission of Inquiry into historic abuse gears up for public hearings, goes against recent edicts by Pope Francis directing senior clerics to build trust with survivors by being transparent and ensuring victims’ voices are heard.

Published in Radio New Zealand

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Royal Commission: Calls for commissioner Paul Gibson to step down

The commissioner embroiled in the latest scandal at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care says he won’t be stepping down.

Paul Gibson is responsible for the group of sexual abuse survivors who advise the Royal Commission as it investigates historical abuse of children in state and church care.

Yesterday it was revealed that a partner of one of the advisory group members is a convicted child sex offender and has attended gatherings alongside members of the group.

Published in Radio New Zealand

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Sex offender in inquiry meetings: Minister says her hands are tied

Warning: This story discusses issues related to rape and sexual violence.

Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin says she is “horrified” that a child sex offender attended meetings of the inquiry into state abuse of children but that there isn’t much she can do about it.

Newsroom reported on Tuesday that the Royal Commission into state abuse of children allowed a convicted child sex offender into three meetings with survivors.

The man is the partner of one of advisory group members and was attending as a support person. The commission was told that the man needed to notify police ahead of any travel.

Published in Stuff

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Child sex offender’s presence at abuse inquiry ‘sickens’ panel members

Warning: This story discusses issues related to rape and sexual violence.

A member of a survivors’ group advising the Government’s abuse in care inquiry has skipped its latest meeting after revelations her partner is a convicted paedophile.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into state of faith-based care appointed 18 people, themselves victims of abuse, to a survivors’ advisory group early this year.

Published in Stuff

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Sexual Violence Court pilot shows trial time reduction

A report evaluating the pilot of New Zealand’s first Sexual Violence Court says pilot cases are proceeding to jury trial about a third faster on average than previously.

The evaluation also says that most complainants feel the pilot’s trials are managed in a way that does not cause them to feel retraumatised by the process.

The pilot has been running in the District Court at Auckland and Whangārei since December 2016 for all serious (Category 3) sexual violence cases to be heard by a jury. The pilot set out to reduce pre-trial delays and improve the court experience for participants.

Published in New Zealand Law Society

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Family of George Pell victim ‘beyond disappointed’ at High Court appeal

Pedophile cardinal George Pell has lodged a special leave application with the High Court to try to challenge his convictions for sexually abusing choirboys.

The 78-year-old pedophile remained behind bars on Tuesday as his lawyers lodged a special leave application with Australia’s highest court.

A spokesperson for the High Court confirmed it had received the application through its Melbourne registry, “requesting leave to appeal a decision”.

Published in SBS

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