Abuse Royal Commission: Police joked with paedophile priest Peter Rushton

The Australian

Crime reporterSydney

Two police detectives joked with a paedophile Anglican priest about the children “they would have in their tent that night,” a royal commission has heard.

The evidence, given on oath before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse today, is the first time it has heard the child abuse scandal now consuming the Anglican diocese of Newcastle in NSW may extend beyond the church.

Eight current or former Newcastle bishops, including the current Archbishop of Perth Roger Herft, have been called to give evidence during the current hearing. The commission has heard evidence that powerful people within the church were allegedly complicit in the cover-up of child abuse and the diocese is “harbouring a large number of active offenders with little or no accountability in place.”

Anglican priest Roger Dyer told the commission today that a former parishioner told him about a conversation he overheard involving the late Newcastle priest Peter Rushton.

Rushton was a repeat offender who was protected by senior clerics known as “the gang of three” within the city’s Anglican diocese, the commission has heard. Evidence before the commission suggests he was allowed to foster children from an Anglican-run boys’ home to live with him, and provided one such boy to be gang-raped by other men.

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