Mere Anglicanism

Australian bishop tells parish their ex-vicar was a pedophile

The Bishop of Newcastle told a town meeting for three congregations that their former vicar, the Rev. Michael Cooper, was a sexual predator.

The Bishop of Newcastle in the Anglican Church of Australia last week told a town meeting for three congregations that their former vicar, the Rev. Michael Cooper, was a sexual predator. On 15 Oct 2015 the Rt. Rev. Greg Thompson (pictured) told Anglicans from Rutherford, East Maitland and Cessnock that Cooper, who died in 2007, led a ‘‘double life involving serious crimes against children” and had enticed children with alcohol and drugs and sexually abused them. The Diocese of Newcastle in New South Wales appears to have been a hot spot of clergy sexual abuse. In June Bishop Thompson said a review of abuse reports indicated up to 30 clergy molested children in the diocese in a forty year span.‘‘This will be the start of a number of statements about clergy, mostly deceased, where we have received and verified information,’’ Bishop Thompson said last week. ‘‘People will find it hard to believe and to understand, that someone they have known as a caring person could also be a predator,” he said adding: ‘‘People can be very angry but this is part of the process, beginning to see the world through the eyes of the survivors of abuse.’’ The bishop acknowledged that there may have been a cover up in the Cooper case as well as in other clergy abuse cases, as files had gone missing and clergy who had been accused of abuse were given the responsibility to investigate other cases of abuse. Over ten thousand records pertaining to allegations of clergy and church worker sexual abuse have been handed over by the diocese to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Commission is expected to hold public hearings into the Newcastle abuse allegations next year.

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