Anglican Diocese damned in child abuse commission findings

THE royal commission is expected find that Anglican Diocese of Grafton failed in its handling of child abuse claims at Lismore's North Coast Children's Home and withheld information from the police.

In a damning report released on Thursday night, Counsel Assisting the Commissioner Simeon Beckett recommends that two Northern NSW priests - Reverend Morgan and Reverend Brown - be referred to the Anglican Church's Professional Standards Committee to determine whether disciplinary proceedings should be initiated against them.

Final submissions arising from the November inquiry into abuse at the home closed on January 24.

Mr Beckett submitted there were 59 findings available to the commission - including that the Grafton Diocese put the interests of the Anglican Church ahead of providing financial support to victims.

He found former Grafton Diocese registrar Pat Comben was aware former Lismore Priest Allan Kitchingman had been convicted of sexual offences against a child but failed to commence disciplinary proceedings against him.

It is also submitted that former Grafton Bishop Keith Slater failed to refer allegations of sexual abuse at the home to the professional standards director that could have assisted ongoing internal and police investigations.

The Diocese was also found to have given precedence to the debt arising from the Clarence Valley Anglican School over the settling of claims of child sex abuse during the period 2007-2012.

Mr Beckett recommends, among other things, that the Grafton Diocese "regularly review" the operation of its professional standards process and that the professional standards director is appraised of all outstanding claims of sexual abuse.

More to come.



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