Newcastle Anglican diocese’s defrocked Dean is still influential, the royal commission has heard

Newcastle Herald

2 Aug 2016

HE was the man who brought Newcastle together in 1989 after an earthquake killed 13 people and severely damaged the Anglican Christchurch Cathedral.

He was the senior Newcastle cleric with a prominent role on the Anglican Church’s sexual abuse working group in 2003 that developed national professional standards.

But the 13th Anglican Dean of Newcastle, Graeme Lawrence, was also in a “gang of three” protecting a notorious Hunter paedophile priest, and led a Griffith group of offenders to the Hunter who were later defrocked after child sex allegations, the royal commission has heard.

Over the next two weeks the commission will hear evidence Mr Lawrence’s power and influence protected child sex offenders for several decades, but did not end with his defrocking in 2012.

“It is anticipated there will be evidence that Lawrence had, and continues to have, considerable influence in the diocese,” counsel assisting Naomi Sharp told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse sitting in Newcastle on Tuesday.

That influence includes an allegation he has continued to preach at Adamstown parish despite the defrocking.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.