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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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.

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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.

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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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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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Petition – Tell the government to include ALL survivors of institutional abuse in Royal Commission

Here’s an opportunity to show your support for justice for all survivors.

Some like-minded folks are making this final call to ask the Minister to ensure cabinet include all survivors of criminal abuse, especially in church institutions when they announce the final terms of reference for the Royal Commission. This is due to be announced in the next couple of weeks.

If you agree please visit the link below on the OurActionStation community campaign platform:
https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/tell-the-government-to-include-all-survivors-of-institutional-abuse

Catholic Church in NZ ‘failed in a very serious way’ over paedophile priest: call for royal commission

The Catholic Church’s handling of a paedophile priest from Dunedin amounts to “negligence”, and a royal commission could reveal a cover-up, the head of the University of Otago’s theology and public issues centre says.

And an international expert on clerical sex abuse now believes Father Magnus Murray may have been offending for 50 years, and “almost certainly has dozens of victims”.

The comments came after ODT Insight yesterday revealed how Murray was allowed to continue as a priest after his offending in Dunedin was revealed to Bishop John Kavanagh in 1972.

Murray – who was convicted in 2003 of offences against four Dunedin boys between 1958 and 1972 – was sent to Sydney for counselling when two Dunedin parents complained in 1972.

Published in the NZ Herald

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Call to defrock accused priest

The Catholic priest now accused of leaving more victims in his wake should be defrocked, even now, a theological lecturer says.

Dr Rocio Figueroa, from Good Shepherd Theological College, said the response to clerical child abuse now needed to be “centred on the victims, not covering up the perpetrators or trying to protect the institution”.

Published in Otago Daily Times

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