The ABC reports…
“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has found the Anglican Diocese of Grafton treated victims insensitively and conducted settlement negotiations in a hostile manner.
The commission’s public hearing was told about frequent sexual, psychological and physical abuse of nine former residents of the North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore between 1940 and 1985.
Handing down its findings, the commission found the diocese denied responsibility for the sexual abuse, denied some victims financial compensation and conducted some settlement negotiations in a hostile manner.
It also found the diocese was not following its own policies in handling the matter and that denying legal liability on the grounds it did not control the home had a detrimental effect on abused former residents.
The Right Reverend Keith Slater resigned as bishop of the diocese in May last year admitting that legal liability played a role in his decision not to pass on all complaints to the church’s professional standards director.
The commission has today recommended that diocese regularly reviews the operation of its professional standards processes to ensure the professional standards director and professional standards committee are appraised of all outstanding claims of sexual abuse.
Witness Tommy Campion was among those to share his story during the public hearing.
He alleged he was sexually abused as a child between 1949 and 1962.
He told the commission that he was invited to a minister’s residence for crumpets and honey only to be taken into a spare room and allegedly sexually abused by Reverend Campbell Brown.
Reverend Brown has never been charged with child sexual offences but the commission recommended that the diocese determines whether to initiate disciplinary proceedings against him.
Another witness revealed abuse at the hands of Reverend Allan Kitchingman who was convicted for indecent assault in 1968 and 2002.
The commission found the dioceses of Grafton and Newcastle could both have taken action in response to the professional standards matters concerning Reverend Kitchingman including his discipline, but there was no clear system in place to determine which diocese would assume responsibility.
The ABC is waiting for a response from the diocese and victims.”