Opinion: The Altar Boys will reopen wounds for some, and provide vindication and salvation for others

Newcastle Herald

August 20, 2020


Sadly, one of the worst indictments of our society has been the terrible and insidious prevalence of child sexual abuse across a range of once trusted institutions.

Julia Gillard – who as prime minister ordered the Royal Commission that did so much to calibrate the extent of the problem – thanked the Newcastle Herald’s Joanne McCarthy for convincing her of the need for an investigation.

Others, too, played substantial roles, including Sydney journalist Suzanne Smith, whose reports for ABC’s Lateline program were crucial in attracting the attention of a national audience.

Now, spurred by the suicides of two men abused in the Hunter – one a close friend and colleague – Smith has a book on the subject, The Altar Boys, being published today.

As we indicate in our front page report, it is not a comfortable read. It was not intended to be.

What’s more, Smith has put her investigative abilities to good use and come up with new evidence about the cavalcade of abusers who hid – and were hidden by others – within the supposedly sacred spaces of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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