Perth archbishop castigated by Royal Commission investigating abuse

A report published by Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has concluded the Anglican Church of Australia’s Diocese of Grafton failed in its legal and moral responsibilities towards children in its care, and failed to exercise oversight over abusive clergy. The 27 Oct 2014 report presented to parliament examined the diocese’s response to child sexual abuse at the church-run North Coast Children’s Home. It found the diocese had disavowed responsibility for abuse committed by one of its priests at the home, declined to give victims compensation, and failed to follow its own internal guidelines on reporting child abuse. Among its 28 findings, the commission stated that “by denying legal liability on the basis that it did not control the North Coast Children’s Home and not providing a pastoral response, the Diocese of Grafton’s response had a detrimental effect on abused former residents.” The report also criticized Archbishop Roger Herft (pictured) of Perth “In 2002, archbishop Roger Herft, then bishop of Newcastle, became aware that Reverend Allan Kitchingman had been convicted of five counts of indecent assault of a child. He did not start disciplinary proceedings against him.” The diocese of Grafton and Newcastle “could both have taken action in response to the professional standards matters concerning Reverend Allan Kitchingman including his discipline. There was no clear system in place to determine which Diocese would assume responsibility,” the report stated.

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