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
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
A paedophile priest who left a trail of victims in his wake was allowed to continue as a man of the cloth for nearly two decades after his offending was revealed to the Bishop of Dunedin.
Survivors say it shows why the Catholic Church should be part of a Royal Commission into historic abuse. Chris Morris investigates.
Published in Otago Daily Times
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
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.
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
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.
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.
By Gordon Campbell, from an original article here on scoop.co.nz >>
Apparently, PM Jacinda Ardern has chosen to exclude faith-based institutions from the government’s promised inquiry into the abuse of children in state care. Any role for religious institutions – eg the Catholic Church – would be only to observe and to learn from any revelations that arise from the inquiry’s self-limiting focus on state-run institutions:
[Ardern] said the primary role of the inquiry was to look at the state’s responsibility….She said any religious institution with concerns needed to look at the issue, ask what they have done about the issues and their own history.
Such a narrowing of focus would be unfortunate, for a whole variety of reasons, and not merely because a more wide-ranging commission of inquiry in Australia found a high prevalence of children in care being sexually assaulted within religious institutions.
The government has reaffirmed its commitment to an independent inquiry into the sexual abuse of those in state care.
The news comes as survivors of abuse call for an investigation similar to Australia’s Royal Commission.
“It’s a very difficult thing to face, it’s a painful moment in a country’s history to acknowledge those past injustices,” Patrick O’Leary from the Australian Royal Commission said.
Judge Carolyn Henwood, heard from over 1000 New Zealand victims in her seven years on the confidential listening service.
“We need something independent because we haven’t yet got accountability and we haven’t got a pathway forward for the future as to how we’re going to give an access to justice,” she said.
A straight forward message coming from abuse survivor Jim Goodwin.
“We have to do this, as a country we have to do this.”
This article on TVNZ here >>
A Dunedin survivor of sexual abuse says he and others like him are ready for a long fight for justice.
A resolution was passed in Christchurch yesterday at the South-South Institute conference, which is organised by the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust, asking the Government to commit to a Royal Commission or similar level of inquiry into the institutional abuse of children in New Zealand.
The resolution asks that any New Zealand inquiry be modelled on the Australian Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.
Full article on the Otago Daily Times here >>
Government departments could be “sheltering” child abuse perpetrators as calls for a Royal Commission into historical state care abuse remain unanswered, a judge says.
On Wednesday, experts outlined what they believe an independent inquiry into child abuse in state care before 1992 should look like.
The new Government promised an inquiry in its 100-day plan, but what shape that will take remains to be seen.
Full article on Stuff.nz here >>
A Dunedin man is one of more than 100 male sexual abuse survivors calling on the Government to open a royal commission into the historical sexual abuse of children.
The South-South Institute’s the third conference, organised by the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust Aotearoa, is running in Christchurch this week.
Dunedin man and sexual abuse survivor Darryl Smith is one of about 100 sexual abuse survivors attending the conference who support a royal commission into historic sexual abuse.
Mr Smith spent more than a decade in state care, in both New Zealand and Australia, beginning when he was 7 in the early 1970s.
It is likely a call for the Government to open a royal commission into historical sexual abuse cases, both in state care and other institutions, will be made during the conference.
Mr Smith said he and fellow survivors had already made their views clear at a survivor-only day on Sunday.
“As survivors we were asked what we wanted as an outcome and we were all on the same page that we wanted a royal commission, so people can be made accountable.”
The Labour Party has pledged to set up an inquiry into abuse of children in state care within its first 100 days in government.
Read the full article on the Otago Daily Times here >>