- Church investigator says files listed more than 70 cases
- Priest had child porn
- Prominent people supported Lawrence after his defrocking
- Removalist says he saw child porn in Rushton’s rectory
- Confidential report on yellow envelopes
- Solicitor Allen grilled for third day on abuse
- Solicitor denies “fixing” statement to Royal Commission
- Do nothing approach revealed
- Royal Commission hears of “brown envelope” cases
- Lawyer admits tearing up priest’s resignation letter
- Sex with priests began at age of 14
FORMER Newcastle Anglican Bishop Brian Farran will be questioned this week about why he told a church board he was placed in an “unnecessary and unfortunate pressured environment” after it made defrocking recommendations against four priests public.
The priests included former Newcastle Anglican Dean Graeme Lawrence.
Bishop Farran wrote the letter to the then diocese professional standards board president and retired NSW Local Court magistrate Colin Elliott after professional standards hearings in 2010 into child sex allegations against Lawrence, his partner and teacher Greg Goyette and Hunter Anglican priests Andrew Duncan, Bruce Hoare and Graeme Sturt.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse public hearing into Newcastle Anglican diocese was told last week that Mr Elliott will give evidence criticising Bishop Farran’s handling of the matter and subsequent changes to the professional standards board’s powers.
Mr Elliott, who is listed to give evidence later this week, is expected to say he resigned as board president in December 2012 after changes were made restricting the board from publishing its recommendations to the bishop.
He is expected to give evidence of his perception there was “a cohort of Newcastle Cathedral practitioners who appear unquestionably to have supported Graeme Lawrence”, and who sought to deride the board.
Counsel assisting, Naomi Sharp, told the royal commission in her opening address that a witness will allege barrister Paul Rosser, QC, while diocese chancellor, “tried to interfere in the operations of the professional standards committee and was critical of the committee’s decisions”.
Mr Rosser is expected to give evidence on Monday or Tuesday. He is expected to be questioned about representing clergy charged with child sex offences while holding the position of chancellor.
Solicitor and senior diocese member Keith Allen, who agreed he had “the ear” of bishops Alfred Holland, Roger Herft and Brian Farran, will resume giving evidence on Monday after a bruising encounter with commission chair Justice Peter McClellan on Friday, over Mr Allen’s involvement with a civil claim against the diocese in 2015 by a child sex victim.
The royal commission will consider a statement from former chair of a sexual misconduct committee from 2001-04, Jean Sanders, who dealt with 30 complaints of child sexual abuse and said the committee’s $2000 budget was a “token effort” by the diocese.
She resigned and “ceased involvement in the church” because she has “no trust in the hierarchy of the church”.