Australian bishop resigns over abuse complaints: The Church of England Newspaper, May 26, 2013, p 7. May 30, 2013Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: clergy child abuse, Diocese of Grafton, Keith Slater, North Coast Children’s Home
An Australian Bishop has resigned after an internal review found he had failed to conform to the church’s child protection and abuse reporting guidelines.
On 17 May 2013 Bishop Keith Slater of the Diocese of Grafton announced he was stepping down for having mishandled abuse allegations brought to his attention by former residents at the North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore NSW. “The abuse took place over a number of decades (1940’s to 1980’s). The alleged perpetrators included staff at the Home, visiting clergy, members of holiday host families and other residents,” he said.
Bishop Slater said that in 2007 the diocese settled 39 claims of abuse and paid up to $22,000 to each of the victims. The names of two clergy still living that were alleged to have engaged in the misconduct were also turned over to the police.
After the settlement had been reached the additional victims came forward, some contacting Bishop Slater directly. Under a 2004 protocol adopted by the diocese all allegations of sexual abuse were to be reported to the professional standards director. Bishop Slater is accused of ignoring some of these complaints.
“I acknowledge that I was responsible for ensuring full compliance with the Protocol and that I failed in this duty. Some matters detailing sexual abuse at the North Coast Children’s Home were not referred to the Professional Standards Director as they should have been,” the bishop wrote.
“I apologise to those complainants who were not given access to the Professional Standards Director. I also acknowledge that, by not referring these matters, the Professional Standards Director was not provided with information that could have assisted ongoing internal and Police investigations. All information has now been provided to the Professional Standards Director who is currently liaising with the Police to ensure that all relevant information has been provided to them,” he said.
On 10 May 2013, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall and the general secretary of the Anglican Church of Australia, Martin Drevikovsky, met with Bishop Slater and urged him to consider the consequences of his actions.
“I put to him that if there was substantial truth in the report then I believed that he needed to consider whether it was tenable for him to continue as bishop,” Archbishop Aspinall told Australia’s Daily Telegraph.
“I told him to go away, pray and take whatever advice he wanted,” the archbishop said.