I was fooled by priest on sex abuse: Herft

The West Australian

Phoebe Wearne, Newcastle – The West Australian on August 30, 2016

The Anglican Church has revealed “continuing distress and sadness” in its Perth diocese as Archbishop Roger Herft yesterday admitted to being told on three occasions that a senior priest had abused children but had raised the allegations only with the clergyman involved.

Appearing before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Archbishop Herft faced a second day of questioning in Newcastle about his knowledge of child sex offences in the NSW Hunter region in the 1990s and early 2000s.

He accepted evidence that during his time as Bishop of Newcastle he received three serious complaints about former Dean of Newcastle Graeme Lawrence in 1995, 1997 and 1999.

He told the commission he had “no reason to doubt” Lawrence’s denials at the time and therefore accepted his “say so” that the offences did not take place.

“There was a sense in which I trusted him,” Archbishop Herft said.

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