‘Haunted house on the hill’: Rachel Griffiths describes abuse history at destroyed Melbourne church

ABC News

By Loretta Florance

The destruction of St James Church in Brighton would be a relief to many former parishioners because of its history of sexual abuse, actress and former parishioner Rachel Griffiths has told 774 ABC Melbourne.

The heritage-listed church was destroyed in an early morning blaze that took hours for fire crews to bring under control.

Ms Griffiths said when she heard the news of the fire, she went to visit a friend who lives a couple of doors down from the church.

“I was quite elated, like many of my generation, when I heard the news this morning,” she said.

“It’s always been a difficult building for us to drive past because there’s been so much tragedy and complicated feelings, I guess.

“We’ve all attended many funerals of boys that we now know were abused by [Father Ronald] Pickering … and other perpetrators in the parish – at the actual church that it occurred in.”

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade said the cause of the fire could not yet be established.

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