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.

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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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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Social Development ministry gave historic abuse complaint statements to police

Deeply personal and traumatic accounts of historic abuse in state care were given to police without the knowledge of those concerned.

A judge has said the abuse claimants were “some of the most vulnerable people in New Zealand society” and distrusted state agencies.

She made an order to stop the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) passing on information, provided for court proceedings, without the claimant’s consent.

Published in Stuff

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New Zealand tells country’s sex abuse commission to include Church institutions

Just months after the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse issued its final report, New Zealand is beginning its own royal commission – and the nation’s Catholic bishops are asking its institutions not to be excluded from scrutiny.

A royal commission is the highest form of inquiry in most countries where Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state, including Australia and New Zealand.

Right now, the New Zealand royal commission will look into youth detention centers, psychiatric hospitals and orphanages, as well as any government care services contracted out to private institutions.

Published in the Crux.

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Calls for abuse inquiry to include faith-based

A Royal Commission on historic abuse in state care will “fail” survivors – including those still suffering in Otago – unless faith-based institutions are included, a campaigner says.

The call came from Liz Tonks, the head of a support network for survivors of abuse in faith-based institutions, as consultation on the draft terms of reference for the Royal Commission into Abuse in State Care entered its final week.

But Ms Tonks, who met Royal Commission chairman Sir Anand Satyanand yesterday to discuss her submission, said there was no sign of a “significant” change in the scope of the inquiry.

Published in the Otago Daily Times

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Australian abuse survivors criticise NZ inquiry

Australian abuse survivors criticise NZ inquiry

From Radio NZ here >>

New Zealand’s plan to leave the Church and other non-state groups out of the Royal Commission of inquiry into abuse is getting some bad press in Australia today.

The Newcastle Herald has gone big with a story of Australian survivors of abuse afraid their New Zealand counterparts won’t get justice.

Joanne McCarthy, the journalist who did in Australia what the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team did in the US to break open the clerical sex abuse scandal, has interviewed them.

The approach being taken here was “completely unacceptable”, she said.

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The Press Editorial – Government’s proposed abuse inquiry doesn’t go far enough

From an original article here on stuff.co.nz >>

It is disappointing that a government inquiry into past abuse of children will be limited to those cases which originated in state care. An opportunity to address systemic abuse in non-government institutions, and particularly religious organisations, is likely to be lost.

The inquiry is one of the Government’s pledges for its first 100 days in office and will be announced shortly. However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has already said that inquiries will begin with “the harm that we (the State) had direct responsibility for”.

Victims’ groups have called on the Government to follow Australia’s example and include non-governmental organisations such as churches, charities, community groups and sports clubs in the inquiry. For now, at least, the Government appears to be ruling this out.

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