Former Anglican Dean of Newcastle facing child sexual assault charges
By Liz Farquhar And Kerrin Thomas
November 14, 2017
|Graeme Lawrence gave evidence at the child abuse royal commission last year.|
The former Anglican Dean of Newcastle Graeme Lawrence has been arrested and charged with alleged sexual assaults on a 15-year-old boy.
The alleged offences occurred in the NSW Hunter region in 1991.
In 2016, police in Newcastle received a referral from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and Strike Force Arinya was formed to investigate.
Mr Lawrence was one of a number of current and former Anglican Church officials to give evidence at the royal commission hearing into the Anglican Church in Newcastle last year.
This morning, officers from the strike force arrested the 75-year-old former dean at his home in the Newcastle suburb of Kotara.
Mr Lawrence was taken to Waratah Police Station and charged with four counts of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault.
He has been granted conditional bail to face Newcastle Local Court next month.
He was defrocked in 2012.
Newcastle Bishop Peter Stuart said in a statement that each allegation of sexual abuse was "a matter of deep shame and regret to the people of the diocese".
"Because this matter is now before the courts, the diocese cannot make comment about it," he said.
The statement said the Anglican Church in Newcastle continued to encourage survivors of abuse to make contact with NSW Police through the assistance line on 131 444, or if the information was urgent, on 1800 333 000.
The Anglican Church Survivor Support Service can be contacted on 1800 774 945 or 4907 5730.