Australian bishop defrocked for abuse cover up

The retired Bishop of Grafton in the Anglican Church of Australia has been defrocked by church tribunal for his mishandling of the clergy sexual abuse scandal in his diocese. On 16 Oct 2015 the Bishop of Grafton, the Rt. Rev. Sarah Macneil told the Australian church’s bishops the Professional Standards Board of the Diocese of Grafton headed by former Supreme Court judge Moreton Rolfe QC had recommended the Rt. Rev. Keith Slater be “deposed from holy orders” in light of his “systematic failure to comply with professional standards and protocols, particularly in responding both to allegations of abuse at the North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore during the period 1940 to 1980 and to claims for compensation.” A press statement released by the diocese said the decision means Mr. Slater no longer holds any position in the Anglican Church and returns to the status of a layman. In May 2013 Mr. Slater resigned as Bishop of Grafton after ten years of service over his mishandling of abuse allegations. In 2006 the diocese received a number of claims alleging acts of “physical, psychological and sexual abuse” at the home between the 1940s and the 1980s alleged carried out by staff, visiting clergy and other residents. Thirty-nine claims were settled in 2007 at which time seven other complainants came forward. An audit of how these complaints were handled was then undertaken in preparation for the royal commission into child sex abuse, with the initial findings indicating that the proper protocols “had not always been applied.” In his letter of resignation, the former bishop said: “I acknowledge and apologise for my past failings in the management of claims of abuse in the Diocese of Grafton,” adding: “I acknowledge and apologise for the additional pain and damage that my decisions have caused to the survivors of abuse who came forward to share their story with me and seek assistance.”

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