Tags: Diocese of Melbourne, Diocese of Newcastle, James Michael Brown, Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry, Victoria
The premier of Victoria has launched a parliamentary inquiry into the handling of sexual abuse complaints lodged against churches. The 17 April 2012 press statement said “a focus of the inquiry will be on identifying reforms that can and should be put in place to better protect children and ensure that instances of abuse are responded to properly and effectively. In doing so, the inquiry will have the power to consider evidence of past policies, practices and abuse.”
The announcement said the Victoria Coalition government had “decided to establish the inquiry after giving careful consideration to the report and recommendations” the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry. “It is clear that there have been a substantial number of established complaints of sexual abuse of children by those who have taken advantage of positions of authority. This abuse has had traumatic consequences for victims and their families.”
The Diocese of Melbourne said it would give the inquiry its full cooperation and welcomed “this step to provide the community with confidence that churches and religious organisations will handle allegations of abuse with the utmost seriousness and concern, and with the best possible practices, policies and protocols for handling allegations of abuse, and for providing appropriate care for the victims of abuse.”
Prosecutors have lodged an appeal against the ten year term of imprisonment sentence handed down to a former church youth worker in Australia.
Last month the Director of Public Prosecutions in Newcastle, Australia announced his intention to appeal the sentence of James Michael Brown, 60, a former youth work and member of the staff of St Alban’s Boys’ Home in Aberdare, he pled guilty to charges that he molested 13 boys aged 11 to 17 from 1974 to 1996. The indictment includes 38 charges of sodomy and 60 indecent assault charges.
In a statement released after Mr. Brown’s in 2010, Newcastle Bishop Brian Farran confirmed Mr. Brown had worked for the diocese in the 1970s and early 1980s in a variety of duties, including youth work and as a carer at the St Alban’s Home. The diocese had assisted the police with their inquiries and was ‘‘strongly committed to addressing the issue of current and historical child sexual abuse in the church,” the bishop said.
A hearing has been scheduled for August to review the sentence.
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.