Royal commission hears of harrowing evidence of rape in Newcastle Anglican Diocese

Sydney Morning Herald

Ian Kirkwood

More than 30 years of child sexual abuse by clergy and lay members of various Anglican parishes have been laid bare on the opening day of the royal commission’s two-week hearing into the Anglican diocese of Newcastle.

In her opening address, counsel assisting the commission Naomi Sharp outlined allegations against various church figures – some of them dead, others alive and still fighting to stay out of jail.

Some of the abuse took place at St Alban’s Home for Boys at Cessnock, which was run by the church.

A number of the clerics involved had all studied together at St John’s Theological College at Morpeth. Some went on to hold senior positions in a clique of power that centred on the city’s Christ Church Cathedral. And as Ms Sharp recounted, these same men were even made members of committees or other church bodies charged with overseeing the response to the child sexual abuse scandal when it finally arose to public controversy.

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