The operator of this website is the highly motivated community-minded Martin Mitchell from Australia (himself an instititionalised and abused minor in church institutions in the former West Germany)

( 20.06.2004 )

Child abuse in Church Institutions in Australia. Anglican Church confesses
its sins: "We’ve been shameful"

[Adelaide] SUNDAY MAIL, 20 June 2004 @
www.sundaymail.com.au

We’ve been shameful
Church’s edict to errant clerics

By BELINDA HEGGEN and ELISSA DOHERTY
21jun04


THE Anglican Church has pledged to fully compensate sex abuse victims in South Australia, admitting it has shown "callous indifference" to their allegations.

The church’s administrator, Archdeacon John Collas, also anticipates further suspensions or dismissals of church workers found to have breached the reporting of abuse.

A meeting of the 300-member Synod in Adelaide yesterday unanimously agreed to apologise for the "shameful way" the church has handled complaints of sexual abuse.

"Those who have suffered have been dismissed, ignored and, in some cases, treated with callous indifference," Archdeacon Collas said.

"A blind eye has been turned to criminal behaviour or, even worse, it has been covered up."

"We have failed people. We have failed God."

I other developments yesterday:
FORMER archbishop Ian George will be denied his farewell service at St Peter’s Cathedral on June 27 after revelations he wrote letters of sympathy to confessed child abuser and former St Peter’s College chaplain John Mountford.

AN INDEPENDENT Ombudsman will be considered to audit the church’s professional standards committee which monitors the activities of all workers.

NINE of the 11 key recommendations of the Independent Board of inquiry report into the handling of the sex abuse claims in the Anglican Church have been adopted. The remaining two will be considered in the next six months.

A LAWYER representing more than 50 victims of alleged sex abuse within the church said he was still waiting to be contacted by the church regarding compensation for his clients.

Archdeacon Collas said he hoped to meet lawyers this week to discuss the compensation claims.

"In every way that those who were abused need help (that) will be met, "he said.

"We will find a way to fund that; it’s not a problem for us; They’re (the Diocese’s finance department) going to have to do it."

Archdeacon Collas would not detail how the church would find the money or whether it would sell any assets.

The all-day meeting, at the Adelaide Convention Centre, was mainly sombre with a heavy burden of guilt and sorrow hanging over the crowd.

One woman made a silent protest as Archdeacon Collas gave his opening address, holding up a linen sheet painted with the words: "For God’s sake don’t ignore spiritual abuse."

However, the mood lightened with several women knitting as the debate continued.

In his opening address, Archdeacon Collas said: "I anticipate that as the professional standards committee continues its work, it will be advising me that certain church workers should be suspended or dismissed".

"I am strongly committed to ensuring no one who represents a risk to people’s safety continues in ministry.

Reverend Don Owers, who with Reverend Andrew King, battled for years to establish an inquiry into sex abuse said he was reassured by the sense of sorrow and shock displayed at the Synod meeting.

"What I was concerned about was the Synod being in a state of denial (but) they are not," he said.

"Some of the measures are really quite important steps forward for the Synod.

"It’s easy to pass motions – now how we act on them, that’s the challenge."

© Advertiser Newspaper Pty Limited

[ Date of first publication on this Website: 20 June 2004 ]

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