Signing deal goes against church wishes, says parent

The Australian


Parents of intellectually disabled students sexually abused by a South Australian Catholic school volunteer in the 1980s are refusing to sign confidentiality agreements with the church.

It is understood three of the six families seeking compensation for children abused by bus driver Brian Perkins at St Ann’s Special School in Adelaide’s southern suburbs between 1986 and 1991 have received payouts but feel devastated by the process.

One parent said he would not sign a secrecy agreement because it went against the church’s stated desire to be open, honest and generous with victims of abuse.

Peter Mitchell said he would seek advice from the South Australian Commissioner for Victims’ Rights about his right to an open deal for his son, now aged in his 40s. “As far as I understand it, if we don’t sign we don’t get anything for our son,’’ he said.

He said Adelaide Archbishop Phillip Wilson, who stepped away from his post to plead not guilty last month of concealing child sex abuse in the church in a separate NSW matter, had apologised publicly for the childrens’ abuse but had not spoken directly to the families.

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