Hundreds of clergy investigated, Church tells Commission
AT LEAST 129 Anglican Church clergy members are currently listed as “persons of concern” and up to 209 more are under investigation across the country, the royal commission into child sex abuse has heard.
The revelation came during inquiries into the workings of the Church’s national register – an internal “red flag” system, which gives professional standards directors and bishops the ability to background check clergy members transferring from diocese to diocese.
Those listed have either been convicted of or are under investigation for criminal behaviour and in particular, child sex offending.
Martin Drevikovsky, General Secretary, General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia told the commission this morning that the register was incomplete.
He said that when the royal commission was announced, every diocese was given directions to “search for (complaint) files and review them to ensure all necessary steps had been taken and if not, to take immediate action”.
As a result, Mr Drevikovksy said, “a large number of files have come to light”.
He said an estimated 209 files were listed for review and expected that between 40 and 45 and “possibly more” names would be added to the persons of concern register.
Earlier, Grafton/Newcastle Diocese Professional Standards Director Michael Elliott said at least four names of concern from northern NSW region had not been added to the register including that of Allan Kitchingman, a former Lismore priest who was jailed in 2003 over the sexual assault of a teenage boy.
Mr Elliott also confirmed that along with the North Coast Children’s Home files, there were between 10 and 15 files involving allegations against members of the Grafton Diocese which had yet to be reviewed.
The hearing continues.