Sunday, October 31, 2010

Diocese warned
Diocese warned of paedophile priests
22 Oct, 2010 01:00 AM
THE Anglican diocese of Newcastle was repeatedly warned that a "network" of paedophile priests "preyed on servers" for decades but failed to act on those warnings, a former church employee said in the wake of church admissions about paedophile priest Peter Rushton.
"I first told [a retired senior clergy member] in 1984 that 'You've got a network of these bastards preying on altar boys', and I named names," the church employee said yesterday.

"We all knew it. I gave him at least five names but nothing happened."

The man contacted the Newcastle Herald after speaking to Anglican diocese professional standards office director Michael Elliott.

The calls came after Newcastle Anglican Bishop Brian Farran released a statement this week confirming the late Peter Rushton's "involvement in the sexual abuse of minors".

The former church employee, who received a settlement from the diocese relating to his sexual abuse by a Newcastle diocese priest, said he was outraged to see the diocese finally acknowledge Rushton's offences, but only after his death in 2007.

"They knew. They knew for years and years, and how many children were sexually abused by these mongrels after I reported it in 1984?

"And how many other people reported it, because I wouldn't have been the only one?"

The Herald was contacted by people with information about Rushton and other clergy relating to child sex allegations from the 1970s to the 1990s, or reports of those allegations to various clergy.

Mr Elliott confirmed he had received a number of calls on Wednesday within hours of the Herald's front page article about Rushton's offending.

"Some further people have come forward with useful information," Mr Elliott said.

The former church employee said he wept when he read that the church had finally acknowledged Rushton was a child sex abuser.

"People say to me, let it go. It all happened years ago.

"But you can't let go something that's never been acknowledged.

"You shouldn't be asked to let go when crimes have occurred, and no one's been held accountable either for the acts themselves, or failing to stop those acts.

"I won't let go until there's been justice."

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