Abuse inquiry’s scope wider

New Zealand’s pending royal commission into historical abuse will include the actions of predator priests who targeted children in family homes, on day trips and in other out-of-church settings, it has been confirmed.

The outcome, announced yesterday, has been praised by survivors advocate Liz Tonks and the Catholic Bishop of Dunedin, the Most Rev Michael Dooley.

Ms Tonks, a spokeswoman for the Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith-based Institutions and their Supporters, told ODT Insight she was delighted by the news.

Published in Otago Daily Times

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Child sexual abuse inquiry scope clarified

Priests who abused children in their own homes will be included in a Royal Commission into historical sexual abuse.

The move is being described as a change-in-scope by advocates but the Royal Commission says it is only a clarification of the exiting scope.

After the Government bowed to pressure and added abuse in faith-based institutions to the Royal Commission, victims and survivors were concerned the scope was too narrow, because it only looked at abuse in bricks-and-mortar institutions.

Published in Stuff

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Abuse expert: Catholic bishops risk losing all credibility

The Catholic Church has set up a new body to liaise with the Royal Commission’s abuse inquiry, but its make-up has raised questions over its capacity to deliver truth.

A leading world expert on clerical child sex abuse told RNZ that if Te Rōpū Tautoko remained top-heavy with Church officials it would “only do the bidding of the bishops” and would have no credibility.

Published in Radio New Zealand

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Data breach and delay: survivors lose faith in New Zealand’s landmark child abuse inquiry

A year after it was announced – and more than a month after it was scheduled to begin – there has been little action.

Abuse survivors are beginning to lose faith in New Zealand’s nascent royal commission after months of poor communication, delay, at least one privacy breach and one survivor’s details being lost twice.

In February 2018 the New Zealand government announced it would hold a royal commission or judicial inquiry into abuse in state care, which it said would begin in January 2019.

Published in The Guardian

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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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