Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Disgraced archbishop to appear before Royal Commission on abuse

Dr. George is expected to be questioned about a pedophile ring led by a Church of England Boys Society worker Robert Brandenburg.

The former Archbishop of Adelaide, the Most Rev. Ian George, has been asked to appear before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse this week at a public hearing in Hobart to respond to questions over the diocese’s handling of child sexual abuse by clergy and church workers. On 11 June 2004 Dr. George (pictured) resigned eleven days after an independent report examining the diocese’s handling of clergy sexual abuse claims was made public. The archbishop had denied accusations that he protected pedophile clergy and church workers, but correspondence obtained by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation showed that in 1993, Dr. George had written to the Rev. John Mountford urging him to flee Australia before he was arrested for child abuse. Mountford served as chaplain at the Blue Coat School in Edgbaston, Birmingham, from 1987 to 1990, went out to Australia in 1991 to serve as chaplain of Adelaide’s St Peter’s College. In 1992 Mountford fled Australia after he was confronted with allegations that he molested a 14 year old student at the prestigious boys’ school. Arrested by Thai police in 2004, Mountford was extradited to Australia a year later to stand trial. However, in 2007 the case collapsed after the victim declined to testify and Mountford left Australia for Libya where he founded an English-language school. In 2009 Mountford was found dead in his flat in Tripoli, in what police ruled to be a homicide. The ABC uncovered a letter Dr. George had written to Mountford saying he was “glad that you were not subjected to the pain, the humiliation and the public spectacle which the media would have relished in your case.” Had Mountford remained in Adelaide, it was possible he would be “charged with an offence,” Dr. George told him, adding “You will see that I have done everything I can both to support you, and preserve your reputation.” Dr. George is also expected to be questioned about a pedophile ring led by a Church of England Boys Society worker Robert Brandenburg. In 1999 Brandenburg committed suicide in Adelaide after he was arrested for sex crimes by the police. The diocese of Adelaide has paid out over $4 million to 40 of Brandenburg’s victims. The current Archbishop of Adelaide, Dr. Jeffrey Driver said the diocese welcomed the Royal Commission and was “committed’’ to supporting its work. He acknowledged the “profound sense of betrayal experienced by the victims of abuse, particularly where that abuse has been perpetrated by people holding a position of care or holy trust.” Dr. Driver added:“In many past instances, the response of the church and its associated agencies to allegations of abuse, or to the needs of survivors, has not been adequate or timely. We are deeply sorry for that.”

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