THE abuse vortex.
That's the term the Anglican Dean of St John's Cathedral in Brisbane, Peter Catt, used in October last year to describe the whirlwind of anger, confusion and often disbelief that swirls through church communities dealing with revelations of clerical child sexual abuse.
Reverend Catt was writing in the Newcastle Herald soon after the defrocked former Anglican dean of Newcastle, Graeme Lawrence, was sentenced to eight years jail for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 1991.
A few weeks later, the High Court of Australia would accept a second appeal from Cardinal George Pell after his original conviction in the so-called "Cathedral trial" was upheld the first time.
Lawrence lodged his own appeal at the end of October, and was no doubt buoyed when he learned that Cardinal Pell's appeal would be heard, and then succeed.
Pell's supporters were overjoyed, and there are still those in the Anglican church who have held fast to Lawrence, despite his conviction, and would have been hoping that he, too, would find some way to overturn the verdict against him.
LAWRENCE: decline and fall
- Lawrence claims 'prejudice' against him
- Lawrence loses court attempt to stop defrocking
- Royal Commission Newcastle hearing, Day 6 wrap-up
- Lawrence disputes commission evidence against him
- The defrocking of Lawrence
- Lawrence defrocked in 2012 but still a Newcastle Club member in 2016
- Joanne McCarthy after Lawrence charged in 2017
- Lawrence convicted and stripped of City awards
But it is not to be.
Lawrence's solicitor, John Anthony has told the Herald that his client has instructed him not to lodge an appeal, meaning that he is destined to remain in jail until at least April 2024 when the non-parole part of his eight-year sentence expires.
This case may be closed, but there is much left unresolved in relation to Lawrence's time as Newcastle dean,and his role in the sordid underbelly of paedophile activity that he and others were engaged with, over long decades in this community.
It is a matter of record that other allegations have been made against Lawrence.
His decision not to appeal should presumably free the child abuse Royal Commission into releasing a full version of its 400-page case study into the diocese, uncovering the material redacted for legal reasons at the time of its publication in 2017.
Ben Giggins, whose brave decision to testify ended Lawrence's freedom, has experienced the vortex at its worst.
He knows he was not the only victim of a confederate that preyed on the young while parading their supposed godliness.
With Lawrence behind bars, accepting his fate, it is time for the diocese to make good its promise to properly look after his victims.
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