Fractured parish critical of church process

Tumut and Adelong Times

By Frances Vinall – March 31, 2017

About 100 members of the Tumut community attended a public meeting with the Archbishop of the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese, Christopher Prowse, and Archdiocesan Professional Standards Officer Matt Casey, on Sunday at St Mary’s Hall.

The main topic under discussion was former Tumut parish priest Father Brian Hassett, who was moved to Canberra in 2014 after an internal investigation by Mr Casey into allegations of inappropriate behaviour involving children.

The community was given the opportunity to speak, and to ask questions of the Archbishop and Mr Casey about how the whole affair had been handled.

Those who attended spoke primarily in support of Father Brian, with many sharing personal experiences of his “compassion and love,” and also communicating their feelings of hurt and betrayal – not only that he was moved away from Tumut, but also that the local community had been kept in the dark.

As one speaker said, there are many unknowns, and those who spoke let the Archbishop and Mr Casey know the effect the confusion and lack of transparency surrounding Father Brian’s removal had had both on individuals, and the parish.

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