ABC News Australia
10 September 2012
By Giselle Wakatama
Newcastle’s Anglican Bishop Brian Farran has defrocked three priests over child sex allegations, including a member of the upper echelons of the church.
Bishop Farran has acted on an Anglican Professional Standards Board recommendation to defrock the revered former dean of Newcastle, Graeme Lawrence, along with reverends Bruce Hoare and Andrew Duncan.
The board found there was misconduct in relation to several sexual allegations.
Bishop Farran announced the defrockings to the ABC.
“There will be people in Newcastle who will be extraordinarily angry with me, but unfortunately the processes must be followed,” he said.
Bishop Farran fought back tears as he explained his decision.
“The Professional Standards Board considered some very disturbing material and determined that some of the respondents engaged in sexual misconduct, including misconduct when the complainant was a child,” he said.
Another priest, Reverend Graeme Sturt, received an order banning him from exercising any ministry for five years.
A former church worker has also been prevented from holding any lay office in the church.
The priests have previously denied all the allegations.
None of the five men gave evidence to the professional standards hearing and no criminal charges were laid.
The matter has been referred to the police for reinvestigation.
Bishop Farran says he felt compelled to act, acknowledging calls for a royal commission into clergy abuse.
“I think there should be an open inquiry, absolutely, I think in order for the church to have a sense of regaining its credibility within the community.”
But Former Newcastle mayor John McNaughton, who has been a lay assistant with the church for 60 years and a strong supporter of the former dean, says it is a disgraceful outcome.
“And it’s been disgraceful the whole way through,” he said.
“I think they can’t make a priest not a priest, and the people who look to Father Graeme Lawrence for their counselling and religious instruction and so on will continue to do so, myself included.”
Fears Anglican abuse linked to Catholics
11 September 2012
by: Dan Box
Newcastle’s Anglican Bishop Brian Farran has defrocked three priests after an investigation into sexual misconduct. Source: Supplied
NSW police are investigating allegations four Anglican priests, including the former dean of Newcastle, had sex or were involved in group sex sessions with a teenage boy aged as young as 14.
The establishment of the inquiry, which was referred to police by the church itself, means detectives are now involved in two separate investigations into alleged child abuse by church officials in Newcastle during the 1970s and 80s. The second, Strike Force Georgiana, is investigating the Catholic Church and has charged six priests with pedophile abuse.
While neither police investigation is looking specifically at any connection between members of the two churches allegedly involved in pedophile abuse, detectives believe such relationships may exist. One source within the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle said: “It’s possible there are links. There’s no strong evidence of it, but it’s possible . . .
“There’s certainly been a strong network up here and they infiltrated the church.”
It is not suggested any of the four priests currently under investigation were involved.
Three of the Anglican priests under investigation, Andrew Duncan, Graeme Lawrence and Bruce Hoare, were formally defrocked yesterday following an internal church inquiry, while the fourth, Graeme Sturt, was prohibited from exercising any ministry for five years.
In a written statement released yesterday, the Diocese found that Reverend Duncan first had oral sex with the boy, identified as M, in 1979, when M was aged 14.
For the next five years the two “engaged in an ongoing sexual relationship”, involving masturbation and “digital and penile penetration” of M, who was then aged 17, the Diocese said. The Very Reverend Graeme Lawrence met the boy as early as 1981, when he was 16, the Diocese found. This took place “at M’s family home, whilst his family members were at home . . . (He) entered the bedroom of M, put M’s hand on his crotch so he could feel his erect penis and said to M, ‘You can have this anytime’,” the Diocese alleged.
Over the next four years, including while Reverend Lawrence was working as the dean of Newcastle, the two had an “ongoing sexual relationship”, including “regular group sex” with an Anglican teacher, Gregory Goyette, the Diocese found.
During one such session, in a motel room in Narrandera in NSW, Reverend Lawrence “performed oral sex” on M while “at the same time Reverend Bruce Hoare was simultaneously engaging in sex acts with M”, the Diocese found. Reverend Sturt is alleged to have been “present in the room and watching on”, although he did not take part, the Diocese alleged.
Each of the four priests has previously denied the allegations against them while a previous police inquiry was suspended after the state Director of Public Prosecutions found there was insufficient evidence to lay charges. Mr Goyette could not be contacted yesterday.
The Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, Brian Farran, yesterday said none of the four priests co-operated with the church inquiry into their alleged misconduct.
In a written statement, M said: “Making my complaint and having it heard has been a long and difficult journey.
“I urge anybody else who has had similar experiences to speak out.”