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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Book Launch & Presentation – “When Bad Things Happen To Good Boys” “Bristlecone Project”

Books are available for purchase at the event for $10 cash or a small koha.

When Bad Things Happen to Good Boys is a grippingly true account of the sexual abuse suffered by a group of boys. The book is set to be published by Nelson Male Survivors Group to bring to light the effect that sexual abuse against children has on
the lives of the victims and their families.

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Cabinet yet to hear abuse inquiry proposal

Slow progress in establishing the ground rules for New Zealand’s biggest ever inquiry is causing further pain for state care abuse survivors. New information also shows a formal proposal on the inquiry is yet to reach Cabinet – which must approve the final inquiry scope before anyone can be heard. Teuila Fuatai reports.

Published in Newsroom

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Scale of abuse, suffering revealed

The only staff member not to be named as a perpetrator in this school in Dunedin at this time is the head master and the brother currently under investigation by the police. These survivors are not included in the proposed Royal Commission. They have nowhere to seek justice but the media. More have come forward to other news media and will be released next week. We are grateful to Chris Morris and other journalists for their efforts in the hope it will persuade the government that All survivors in “out of home” care must be included in the RoyCom and all institutions who cared for them investigated.

Published in the Otago Daily Times

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Catholic church knew of abuse claims against paedophile priest Michael Shirres for 28 years

The Catholic Church was aware of sex abuse accusations against paedophile priest Father Michael Shirres nearly three decades before he was finally withdrawn from public ministry.

Another victim of the disgraced Dominican theologian has come forward to say Shirres abused her and her sister in Auckland in 1966 and her parents reported it to a parish priest.

The Herald has confirmed that the priest then told the Dominican order’s provincial – the most senior cleric in Australasia at the time – and that Shirres was later sent away from Auckland to live at Aquinas College in Dunedin, but continued to work with families and children for decades.

Shirres was exposed in the Herald last month (July 25) as a self-confessed paedophile who had abused Whangarei woman Annie Hill, 56, from the age of five.

Published in NZ Herald

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Critics say Pope Francis needs to walk the walk after too many words on global Catholic child abuse scandal

POPE Francis’ vow to break the Catholic Church’s cover-up culture in a letter to “the people of God” after a damning American child sexual abuse report has been criticised after eight months of silence following release of the Australian child abuse royal commission final report.

Pope Francis condemned “atrocities” committed by priests against 1000 children in Pennsylvania and admitted the church abandoned “the little ones”, in a letter released on Monday after a US grand jury report revealed shocking child sexual abuse over 70 years.

Published in The Newcastle Herald

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Not ready to condemn Kavanagh

The Bishop of Dunedin is not yet ready to condemn a predecessor, but says the actions of a priest who aided a paedophile Christian Brother would ”definitely not” be appropriate today.

Bishop Michael Dooley yesterday defended former Dunedin bishop John Kavanagh, who had jurisdiction over Fr Magnus Murray and Br Desmond Fay at the time of their offending in Dunedin.

Fr Murray, who in 2003 admitted offences against four Dunedin boys dating back to 1958-72, was sent to Australia by Bishop Kavanagh for treatment after details of his offending were raised in 1972.

Published in the Otago Daily Times

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Bishop apologises to Dunedin: ‘It’s indefensible’

The Bishop of Dunedin has apologised to the city and asked for forgiveness, after admitting the Catholic Church failed to protect children from paedophiles disguised as men of the cloth.

And, as more victims continue to come forward, he has also added his voice to growing calls for churches to be included in the Government’s upcoming Royal Commission into historic abuse.

The comments by Bishop Michael Dooley came during a wide-ranging interview, days after ODT Insight revealed more historic offending by Fr Magnus Murray and two Christian Brothers in Dunedin.

Published in the Otago Daily Times

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For Catholics, Gradual Reform Is No Longer an Option

Yes, there is still holiness in the church. But the sin is so pervasive and corrosive that it is irresponsible to talk about anything else.

I often use a handy metaphor to explain to my students how feminists have historically differed among themselves in their approaches to bringing about change in patriarchal institutions. Some feminists seek a place at the table; others want to reset the table. The former hope to promote gradual progress from within an existing framework of norms and organizational structures; the latter demand nothing less than radical, wholesale reform.

Published in The New York Times

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