Archbishop Roger Herft has been accused of ignoring complaints of a paedophile ring amongst his clergy
The Archbishop of Perth has been accused of ignoring complaints of a paedophile ring amongst his clergy. Last week the ABC’s ‘7:30’ programme broadcast a report that the Most Rev. Roger Herft failed to inform police of abuse allegations leveled against Archdeacon Peter Rushton while he served as Bishop of Newcastle in New South Wales in 2002. Documents unearthed by ABC purport to show Archbishop Herft writing the complaint against Rushton “left me in an unenviable position” because “Father Peter had my licence and if he re-offended I would be held liable as I now had prior knowledge of his alleged behaviour”. The archbishop’s letter states he had been told by the father of one of Rushton’s victims the archdeacon had sexually abused his son 15 years earlier after the father welcomed Rushton into his home to “spend some days off”. In 2010 the Diocese of Newcastle confirmed that Rushton had been a serial child abuser, molesting children in his parish, at Church of England Boys Society camps and at St Alban’s Boys Home in the Hunter Valley. Rushton, who died in 2008, was alleged to have been the “king pin” in a paedophile ring that took boys from the home orphanage, where he served on the board of trustees, to weekend sex orgies. The director of professional standards for the Diocese of Newcastle, Michael Elliott, told ABC there was no record of Archbishop Herft informing police about allegations leveled against Rushton. A spokesman for the archbishop said he was not able to comment on the report as he was scheduled to testify before Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearings in Newcastle next month.