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Australian dean under investigation for abuse: The Church of England Newspaper, Dec 17, 2010 p 8. December 18, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.

Dean Graeme Lawrence

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The former Dean of Newcastle, Australia, is among four clergymen and a youth worker under the scrutiny of a Professional Standards Board investigating allegations of sexual abuse.

The Very Rev. Graeme Lawrence, who served as Dean of Newcastle for 25 years until his retirement in 2008, the Rev. Graeme Sturt, the Rev. Bruce Hoare, the Rev. Andrew Duncan and former church worker Gregory Goyette are the subject of an internal investigation for “alleged examinable conduct under the diocesan code of conduct.”

On Dec 14, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported the offences related to an “alleged group sex incident” with a 19-year old man at a church seminar at Narrandera in 1984.

The victim reported the abuse when he learned the “former Dean of Newcastle Graeme Lawrence was taking on relief work in the Wangaratta Diocese,” ABC said.  No criminal proceedings are currently pending against the accused.

In 2003, the Standing Committee of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia appointed Dean Lawrence to the church’s Sexual Abuse Working Group.  In March 2003 the Working Group recommended procedures for handling information concerning sexual abuse and sexual misconduct by clergy and church workers.

The Working Group recommended that the church change clergy disciplinary proceedings from an adversarial procedure involving a prosecution for an offence before a tribunal, akin to a civil court proceeding.  The new approach called for an inquiry as to the fitness of the church worker to hold office.  The Standing Committee subsequently accepted these recommendations, which were subsequently adopted by the 2004 General Synod.

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