Accusations against priest now being investigated by police

ALLEGATIONS made against an accused pedophile priest during last year's North Coast Children's Home inquiry are now subject to a police investigation, documents before the Royal Commission have revealed.

Reverend Campbell Brown, a retired Grafton priest believed to be living in the Newcastle area, is accused of sexually assaulting children, including whistleblower Richard "Tommy" Campion, while he was in a position of trust at the Lismore home.

Documents tendered to the commission this week confirm Rev Brown was referred to the police in December last year.

He had previously been referred to the Child Abuse Squad in 2006.

At the time, the Grafton Diocese was told Rev Brown had not had any contact with the Church since the ordination of women, was nearly 80 years old and was vision impaired.

The commission heard the Diocese was first made aware of allegations against Rev Brown and another priest - Rev Winston Morgan, through a letter, written by Mr Campion in 2002.

In his final submission to the commission this week, counsel assisting Simeon Beckett found that from 2005 to now, no disciplinary action had been taken by the Church against either priest.

Former Grafton Registrar Pat Comben and former Grafton Bishop Keith Slater were found to have failed to report some of the allegations made by former residents to police.

Mr Beckett said it remained "unclear why only a limited number of people were referred to police" and called on the Diocese of Grafton to refer Rev Morgan and Rev Brown to its professional standards committee for "determination as to whether to initiate disciplinary proceedings against each person".

He was also highly critical of the Church's handling of former Lismore priest Allan Kitchingman, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a former resident of the home at a Ballina youth camp in the 1970s.

The commission heard both the Diocese of Grafton and Diocese of Newcastle were aware Kitchingman was a convicted sex offender, but failed to take disciplinary action against him.

Kitchingman has since been referred to the Grafton Professional Standards Committee.

His name now appears on a national sex offenders registry - which can be accessed by senior clergy members around the country.

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